Review of Buckhorn mine water quality permit begins

YAKIMA – A draft renewal to the wastewater discharge permit at the Buckhorn Mountain Mine in Okanogan County is available for review and comment from the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology).
Crown Resources operates the gold mine near Chesaw under a water quality permit known as a federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (NPDES). The permit acts in accordance with provisions of the state’s Clean Water Act and the state’s Metals, Mining and Milling Act.
The new permit will be more protective of water quality and the environment. As part of the five-year renewal, the mining company will have a year of interim pollution discharge limits to come into compliance with the more rigorous standards. The permit also authorizes new outfalls where the mine is allowed to discharge treated mine water from its wastewater treatment plant back to the environment. Under the permit, the mine must address failures to capture and contain contaminants from the mine that resulted in a penalty in 2012.
The draft permit would allow the discharge of treated mine water to surface waters in Gold Bowl Creek, Nicholson Creek and Marias Creek. It would also allow the discharge of untreated non-industrial stormwater to the ground, in compliance with Ecology’s water quality standards.
Ecology will make a final determination on the permit after it receives and evaluates all timely comments. The draft permit and fact sheet may be viewed at the Ecology website.
To obtain a copy of the draft permit and related documents or to arrange to view copies, please call Roger Johnson at (509) 454-7658, e-mail, or write to the address below.
All comments must be submitted by Oct. 21, 2013, to be considered for the final determination. Comments should be sent to: Cindy Huwe, Department of Ecology, Central Regional Office, 15 W. Yakima Ave., Suite 200; Yakima, WA 98902. E-mail comments should be sent to
For more information:
Permit information
Penalty news release

About Sandra Partridge

Sandra Partridge works for the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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