HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has renewed the Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit for the Montanore Mine, a proposed copper and silver underground mine located about 18 miles south of Libby near the Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana. The MPDES permit is designed to protect water quality and aquatic life in the Libby Creek watershed.
DEQ received substantial comments on the draft permit during the first public comment period in August through October of 2015 and, as a result, reopened a comment period in April 2016. In response to comments, DEQ made changes to the permit specific to effluent limits, monitoring requirements, permit conditions and improved readability.
The final permit contains, among other requirements, numeric effluent limits for sediment, a variety of metals, and pH. In addition, the renewed permit includes nutrient limits and a requirement to optimize nutrient reduction. It also adds four stormwater outfalls, requires the submission of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, and requires the implementation of Best Management Practices. The permit also requires monitoring for water quality parameters before water is discharged to surface water and requires specific stormwater monitoring.
In February of last year, DEQ issued a Record of Decision approving the Evaluation Phase of the Montanore Mine Project.
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