Idaho company settles alleged Clean Water Act violations

Sept. 29, 2014

SEATTLE — The alleged violations include exceeding discharge limits for copper and lead at outfalls discharging to Lake Creek and the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.

SEATTLE — U.S. Silver – Idaho Inc., owner and operator of the Coeur and Galena Mines and Mills in Idaho’s Silver Valley, has settled with EPA for alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations at the Panhandle facility, according to a press release.

The violations outlined in EPA’s Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) include exceeding their discharge limits for copper and lead at outfalls that discharge to Lake Creek and the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River; and the company also experienced an unpermitted discharge from around their settling pond to Lake Creek in March 2014, stated the release.

The release reported that both the permit violations and the unpermitted discharge were self-reported and in addition to agreeing to pay a $75,000 penalty, U.S. Silver – Idaho Inc. took immediate corrective action to remedy the situation.

EPA alleged that these events were violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the federal law that protects water quality by minimizing or eliminating the impacts caused to U.S. waters from industrial and municipal discharges, noted the release.

“Discharge permits set clear limits to protect water quality and habitat,” said Jeff KenKnight, manager of EPA’s Clean Water Act Compliance Unit in Seattle. “Companies need to meet their limits and eliminate unpermitted discharges, or risk serious penalties.”

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