This week, ICL staff hopped on a bus along with city and state leaders for a field trip to Canyon County, where we gathered to celebrate the new Dixie Drain Phosphorus Removal Facility. The dusty roads led us to this innovative project-one of the first of its kind in the country-where creativity, forward thinking and collaboration are creating a cleaner river for everyone living downstream.
In short, the Dixie Drain facility-located between Notus and Parma, Idaho-takes ground and surface water from a heavily impacted irrigation canal that feeds into the Boise River and removes phosphorus coming from upstream agricultural operations. Excessive phosphorus creates dead zones in waterways, killing plants and making it impossible for fish and other animals to inhabit the water. For the same cost as upgrading existing facilities, the Dixie Drain was constructed and will become a critical component to better overall water quality.
When fully operational, the Dixie Drain, which is about 49 acres in size, will remove 140 pounds of phosphorus a day or roughly 10 tons a year. In addition to phosphorus removal, the facility also reduces sediment, improving river aesthetics and habitat for fish and aquatic life. Eventually, the removed phosphorus and sediment will be repurposed as a secondary market product.
From the beginning, almost a decade ago, ICL has been a key player in this collaborative effort along with many others. As U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson noted at the event, "The EPA, DEQ, City of Boise and the Idaho Conservation League came together to look at alternatives to achieve goals that we want to achieve. And that is cleaner water."
While participating in the tour and listening to the many accolades from stakeholders, everyone involved was clearly proud of this precedent-setting project.
For more information on the Dixie Drain, contact Justin Hayes, program director at the Idaho Conservation League, 208.345.6933 x 24, or Colin Hickman, communications manager at the City of Boise Public Works department, 208.972.8497.