Blog > Public Hearing on the New Draft Groundwater Discharge Permit at Eagle

Public Hearing on the New Draft Groundwater Discharge Permit at Eagle

Lundin Eagle Mine on the Yellow Dog Plains

Eagle Mine is required to revise their permits every five years which are intended to regulate potential sources of pollution. YDWP has found the new draft to be inadequate for those purposes. We encourage the public to ask questions and get involved.

The Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) is operated and run by the Superior Watershed Partnership, and has found 47 violations at the mine since monitoring began in 2012 and none of them have caused the MDEQ to issue a citation for noncompliance. While it is possible that pre-ore-extraction activities are already polluting the groundwater, it is more likely that the DEQ is simply not enforcing the background water quality standards that were initially set for Eagle Mine due to changing conditions in the background wells. Even so, why were the predictions for the groundwater set so inaccurately?

The new draft permit simply does not improve the already poor regulation of groundwater discharge. The Eagle Mine waste water treatment facility is authorized to discharge a maximum of 500,000 gallons of water per day to the groundwater. The MDEQ is only setting maximum daily limits on 5 parameters, and the rest are “Report Only” which essentially sets no legal limit on over 30 other potential sources of pollution, including: Nickel, Sulfate, and Uranium.  It could take a few years for groundwater pollution to reach surface waters, but we are definitely concerned with the output of heavy metals as they will have a more immediate toxic impact on the surrounding indigenous aquatic life and everything that feeds on that.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing on the revised Groundwater Discharge Permit for Eagle Mine at the request of Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, and other concerned parties. On March 25, at 6pm in the Ishpeming Westwood Highschool, the DEQ will begin by answering questions regarding the draft permit, followed by the public hearing. The location is 300 S. Westwood Dr., Ishpeming, MI.  Hope to see you there.