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NPDES Permit Renewal

(Left to right: Aerial of Buckhorn Mine; mine and waste rock; 2011 landslide in Gold Bowl Creek; culvert with sediment)

Background Discharges at the Buckhorn Mine are regulated by the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) under the U.S. Clean Water Act. Every five years the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit must be renewed. The Buckhorn Mine’s permit expired on November 30, 2012. WA Department of Ecology temporarily extended the permit due to complications stemming from significant violations that were issued in July 2012, which Crown/Kinross appealed. n June 2013, almost a year after the most recent violations were issued, Crown/Kinross and Ecology settled the $395,000 penalty for the permit violations, in order to break through the deadlock and start finding solutions to the water quality problems at the mine. The penalty settlement forgave all previous water quality violations at the mine, and agreed to a timetable for the issuance of the NPDES and other provisions... Continue
Kinross NPDES Appeal Finally Heads to CourtAfter a year without movement, the Crown Resources/Kinross Gold (Crown/Kinross) wastewater discharge permit appeal will be heard by the Ferry County Superior Court in February of 2017.  The permit appeal was originally heard by an environmental hearings board in Olympia, which sided with the Department of Ecology (Ecology) and OHA by upholding the permit in its entirety.  This administrative proceeding dealt a significant blow to the company, which sought relaxed water quality standards for the area impacted by the Buckhorn Mine. Crown/Kinross now seeks a second chance at relaxing permit standards in its appeal of the administrative decision to the county court... Continue 
Kinross Appeals New NPDES Permit - Twice

Despite verbal assurance during the penalty settlement negotiations that they would not appeal the new NPDES, Kinross submitted an appeal to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB), one day after the permit was issued. Kinross asserts that the new permit is stayed until the appeal is settled, but they are the only one who hold that opinion. Ecology has stated that they will vigorously defend the permit. OHA intervened in the case. On July 30, 2015, the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) denied Crown Resources/Kinross’s appeal of the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit, thereby affirming that the water surrounding the Buckhorn Mine must be left as clean as it was before the mine was developed.

Updated 9/21/2015: Kinross has once again appealed the March 2014 NPDES permit, this time in Ferry County Superior Court...  
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PCHB Confirms Buckhorn Mine Discharge Permit Water surrounding the Buckhorn Mine must be left as clean as it was prior to mining
On July 30, 2015, the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) denied Crown Resources/Kinross’s appeal of the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit, thereby affirming that the water surrounding the Buckhorn Mine must be left as clean as it was before the mine was developed. The Buckhorn Mine continues to discharge pollutants into the environment in violation of their waste discharge permit... Continue
About the New Permit 
The new permit, effective March 1st, will increase protection of the environment by reducing the level of contaminants discharged in treated water to the level that was found in streams and groundwater before mining. This is a significant improvement over the old permit, which allowed discharges of contaminants up to water quality standards. Even though the NPDES renewal contains interim compliance limits, which extend the current standards for about a year, the permit confirms that no discharge of contaminants is acceptable after mining is completed. The new permit increases environmental protection in some key areas while making other areas more vulnerable... Continue
  


Sediment pond perched above Gold Bowl Creek
Sediment pond perched above Gold Bowl Creek, built in construction fill to capture stormwater.