The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing in Questa, Wednesday (July 31) to receive comments on Chevron Mining’s draft permit to discharge into the Red River.
The revised permit concerns water discharges from the Questa molybdenum mine and tailings facility. According to information from the EPA, the hearing will include a presentation on the proposed permit and a question-and-answer session beginning at 6 p.m., with the hearing for public comments starting at 7:30 p.m. Written comments will also be accepted. The meeting is scheduled July 31 at the Questa VFW Post 7688.
According to information from the EPA, changes from the 2006 permit would include the elimination of one “outfall,” or discharge point, and the addition of another, as well as revised quality-based limits for several other outfalls to bring them in line with state water quality standards.
The permit sets limits for pollutants including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc.
According to an EPA fact sheet, the state Environment Department requested the EPA include monitoring requirements for seven “key” contaminants of concern: aluminum, fluoride, manganese, molybdenum, sulfate, zinc and pH.
“The EPA proposes to have a quarterly monitoring requirement for aluminum in the permit,” the fact sheet states.
The sheet notes that the Red River was listed by the state as impaired for aluminum when the EPA last reissued the permit in 2006 “but is no longer impaired due to a change in the (water quality standards) for aluminum.” April 30, 2012, the EPA approved the withdrawal of the dissolved aluminum total maximum daily load for a section of the Red River, and because the effluent data collected demonstrated no reasonable potential based on the new standard, water quality-based effluent limitations for aluminum are not established at Outfall 002 — a point of continuous discharges consisting of collected seepage from tailings facilities…