Friday, April 5, 2013

General Permit For Small Dredging Operations Issued By EPA Region 10

US EPA Region 10 has issued a new federal water discharge permit operate small dredge operations in Idaho. Mining for gold using small suction dredges is a popular activity in Idaho with hundreds of dredges in use, especially during the summer. Small-scale suction dredge miners ( defined as using intake nozzles of five inches in diameter or less and engines rated at 15 horsepower or less) will need to apply for coverage under the new Clean Water Act general permit. Larger suction dredges are not covered by this general permit and need to be authorized under a separate individual permit.

To legally operate small suction dredges in Idaho, miners must apply to EPA to be covered by the EPA General Permit, as well as check with the Idaho Department of Water Resources or other state or federal authority for any additional permits that may be required.

The EPA General Permit also contains:
  • Special conditions
  • Required best practices for dredging equipment operations
  • Areas that are open to small suction dredge mining
  • Monitoring and reporting requirements

If an operator does not meet the eligibility requirements to be covered under the general permit, they can apply for an individual permit from EPA.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.
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