Idaho Mine Operator Pays for NPDES Permit Violations

Hecla Mining Company, operator of the Lucky Friday Mine and Mill near Mullan, Idaho, will pay a $177,500 fine for violations of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater permit. The silver, lead, and zinc mine exceeded its permit limits for lead, zinc, cadmium, and total suspended solids between September 2008 and February 2009, EPA said. Discharges from the facility enter the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River. In addition to assessing these civil penalties, EPA issued an administrative order to Hecla requiring the company to upgrade the Lucky Friday wastewater treatment system and achieve full compliance with its permit this week.

"Unchecked industrial discharges have serious environmental consequences for our rivers, lakes, and streams," said Ed Kowalski, Director of Compliance and Enforcement at EPA's Seattle office. "Compliance with wastewater permits is critical to protecting Idaho's waterways. Bringing this facility into compliance and reducing the metals load is a significant step forward in protecting and restoring the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River."

Water quality within the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River is severely degraded due to dissolved metals from historic mining activities, EPA said, noting that major tributaries are devoid of aquatic life due to high concentrations of dissolved metals such as zinc and cadmium, while other areas provide only partial support for fish and other aquatic species (e.g., suitable for migration but not spawning and rearing).

The Lucky Friday operations are the most significant contributor of metals to the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River above Mullan, EPA said. The NPDES permit limits were developed to ensure that the discharges from the Lucky Friday operations are protective of fish and other aquatic life in the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River. The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into the waters of the United States. Wastewater discharges from industrial sources, such as mining operations, may contain pollutants at levels that could affect the quality of water bodies and waterways. For more information on NPDES permits, visit http://cfpub1.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Easy to Use Safety Incident App

    Record incidents on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Collect data for multiple types of incidents including including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries; at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together a resource that’s easy to digest so you can get answers to your training questions and ensure you're complying with OSHA's standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus