Note: This post was written by our friends at Advocates for the West who represented us on this issue.
In February 2017, Advocates for the West filed suit against the Idaho Transportation Department for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. ITD continued to use 70 motor waste wells at its vehicle and maintenance buildings around the state, despite its legal obligation to close the wells by 2005.
Motor waste wells were once commonly used to dispose of oils, solvents and other dangerous substances by flushing it out through floor drains, where the toxic fluid could seep into our groundwater.
The Environmental Protection Agency has long recognized the dangers these wells pose to groundwater in Idaho, and required all motor waste wells in Idaho to be closed by January 1, 2005. But ITD missed the deadline by over a decade, so we teamed up with Idaho Conservation League to file suit.
Under pressure from our lawsuit, ITD has now closed all 70 motor waste wells. As a result of these closures and ITD’s commitment to clean up any contaminated areas, we agreed to dismiss our suit.
— Advocates for the West