Environmental Health

The Environmental Health Program is a part of the Idaho Division of Public Health's Bureau of Environmental Health and Communicable Diseases (BECD). We partner with local public health districts, state and federal agencies, and community organizations to achieve our mission. We provide information for Idahoans about environmental factors that impact health, and how to maintain healthy environments at home, work, and school. We promote healthy homes and communities, safe water, and clean air.

 
In this section

Environmental Health Events Coming Up

Radon Mitigation Course - Boise, Idaho February 5th - 7th, 2024

ENTRY-LEVEL RADON MITIGATION SPECIALIST COURSE

Portland, Oregon January 31st - February 2nd, 2024
Boise, Idaho February 5th - 7th, 2024
Registration fee $600
3 full days of in-person training (8:00am - 5:00pm)
Pre-requisite for NRPP Professional Certification Exam 
Highly recommend to take a radon measurement course before attending a radon mitigation course. 

Contact: radoncourses@ksu.edu or REGISTER NOW
 

NIBCA Home and Garden Show March 1-3, 2024

SOILSHOP AND PRIVATE WELL WATER TESTING AT THE NIBCA HOME AND GARDEN SHOW

Informational Flyer

When:  Friday, March 1, 2024, from 12am-6pm

                Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 10am-6pm

                Sunday, March 3, 2024, from 10am-4pm

Where: Kootenai County Fairgrounds

Have you ever had your soil screened for lead or your private well water tested for contaminants?  Now is the time to do this for free! 

Learn if your soil or water is contaminated and how to reduce exposures and protect your family. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and partner agencies will be on-site to provide you education and answer any questions you may have.

Soil Testing

The community is encouraged to bring soil samples from their garden, child’s play area, or other places where you may frequently recreate in a one-quart plastic bag (one sample per bag) and we will screen it for free.

Detailed sample collection:
  1. It is best practice to wear gloves while collecting your soil sample
  2. Place sample into a lone-quart plastic bag. It is best if the soil is dry, but if not, we will dry it on site
  3. Label each bag of soil if you are bringing multiple soil samples

For proper soil collection, please watch this video or view this flyer

For more information on soilSHOPS please visit: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/soilshop/index.html

Water Testing

A sample bottle will be provided to you for testing of fluoride, nitrate, arsenic, uranium, manganese, and lead. Nitrate and arsenic test strips will be available if you would like to test your water at home. Test strips are a great in determining if more detailed testing should be conducted.

Disclaimer:

Sample results will be posted on the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories interactive ground water map. Details can be found on the Environmental Health Website. You must agree on the Chain of Custody form to allow Idaho Bureau of Laboratories to use testing results in the interactive groundwater map. If you do not agree to this, please visit your local water testing laboratory for information on fees and testing. 

*only test results will be displayed on the map, not personal identifiable information.

Why do we want your water results?
  1. So, we can help keep you and your family safe from harmful contaminants by providing you with education and outreach about your water chemistry and how to fix it. 
  2. To make private well owners aware of existing ground water quality data where you live. Your test results help others in your area determine what they should test for in their well and what to expect. 
  3. Promote and educate you on the importance of regular ground water quality testing because private wells (ground water quality) are not regulated by the State of Idaho.
  4. Private well owners are responsible for maintaining their well and ensuring the water is safe to drink, which is accomplished through testing.
How to take a water sample:

Improper sampling will result in inaccurate testing results.  For proper sampling instructions, please watch our videos on proper sampling. 

Click here to watch videos. Videos can be found at the bottom of the page.

Our partners will be there to share information on Childhood Lead, Radon, and Private Well Water.

  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) - Public Health
  • Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL)
  • Soil Screening, Health, Outreach, and Partnership (soilSHOP)
Boise Garden and Flower Show March 22-24, 2024

SOILSHOP AND PRIVATE WELL WATER TESTING AT THE BOISE FLOWER AND GARDEN SHOW

Informational Flyer

When:  Friday, March 22, 2024, from 10am-6pm

                Saturday, March 23, 2024, from 10am-6pm

                Sunday, March 24, 2024, from 11am-4pm

Where: Boise Flower and Garden Show Boise Centre  Boise, ID

Have you ever had your soil screened for lead or your private well water tested for contaminants?  Now is the time to do this for free! 

Learn if your soil or water is contaminated and how to reduce exposures and protect your family. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and partner agencies will be on-site to provide you education and answer any questions you may have.

Soil Testing

The community is encouraged to bring soil samples from their garden, child’s play area, or other places where you may frequently recreate in a one-quart plastic bag (one sample per bag) and we will screen it for free.

Detailed sample collection:
  1. It is best practice to wear gloves while collecting your soil sample
  2. Place sample into a lone-quart plastic bag. It is best if the soil is dry, but if not, we will dry it on site
  3. Label each bag of soil if you are bringing multiple soil samples

For proper soil collection, please watch this video or view this flyer

For more information on soilSHOPS please visit: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/soilshop/index.html

Water Testing

A sample bottle will be provided to you for testing of fluoride, nitrate, arsenic, uranium, manganese, and lead. Nitrate and arsenic test strips will be available if you would like to test your water at home. Test strips are a great in determining if more detailed testing should be conducted.

Disclaimer:

Sample results will be posted on the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories interactive ground water map. Details can be found on the Environmental Health Website. You must agree on the Chain of Custody form to allow Idaho Bureau of Laboratories to use testing results in the interactive groundwater map. If you do not agree to this, please visit your local water testing laboratory for information on fees and testing. 

*only test results will be displayed on the map, not personal identifiable information.

Why do we want your water results?
  1. So, we can help keep you and your family safe from harmful contaminants by providing you with education and outreach about your water chemistry and how to fix it. 
  2. To make private well owners aware of existing ground water quality data where you live. Your test results help others in your area determine what they should test for in their well and what to expect. 
  3. Promote and educate you on the importance of regular ground water quality testing because private wells (ground water quality) are not regulated by the State of Idaho.
  4. Private well owners are responsible for maintaining their well and ensuring the water is safe to drink, which is accomplished through testing.
How to take a water sample:

Improper sampling will result in inaccurate testing results.  For proper sampling instructions, please watch our videos on proper sampling. 

Click here to watch videos. Videos can be found at the bottom of the page.

Our partners will be there to share information on Childhood Lead, Radon, and Private Well Water.

  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) - Public Health
  • Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL)
  • Soil Screening, Health, Outreach, and Partnership (soilSHOP)

Risk Assessments

Gilmore Townsite health-risk information -- Lemhi County

Lead contamination at Gilmore is the result of historic large-scale hard rock mining operations and wind and water erosion of mining waste. The mines on the hillsides above Gilmore operated in the early 1900s and primarily produced lead and silver ore. During the early years, processed ore was hauled over 80 miles via wagons pulled by horses or a steam-powered tractor. Later, ore was transported off the hillside by a half-mile long tramway that travelled through the townsite before emptying into waiting railroad cars.

High concentrations of lead in the soil at the Gilmore townsite were found during DEQ sampling events in 2016 and 2017. At some locations, lead soil levels are more than 50 times greater than what is considered safe for residential areas. As a result of these sampling events, DHW requested the ATSDR complete an evaluation, resulting in the ATSDR health consultation report. This report is expected to be available to the public in late June 2023.

ATSDR - Public Health Assessments & Health Consultations - Idaho

Please visit www.deq.idaho.gov/gilmore for more information

Contact Information for Environmental Health Program

DHW Environmental Health Program

Contact us with questions 

Phone: 800-445-8647

General E-mail:

EH@dhw.idaho.gov

Brigitta Gruenberg, M.Ed., REHS

Environmental Health Program Manager

Phone: 208.616-5271

Brigitta.gruenberg@dhw.idaho.gov

Drew Pendleton PhD MPH

Toxicologist & Health Assessor

Phone: (208) 608-3915

Drew.Pendleton@dhw.idaho.gov

Kelly Berg,  REHS

Environmental Health Program Specialist

Phone: 208.608.2847

Kelly.Berg@dhw.idaho.gov

Carolee Cooper, REHS,RS

Environmental Health Program Specialist

Phone: 208-484-1863

carolee.cooper@dhw.idaho.gov