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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

NPDES Permits & Stormwater

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NPDES Projects: Carlota Copper Company

(Gila and Pinal Counties, Arizona)
UPDATE

On September 30, 2004, the Environmental Appeals Board denied the Petition for Review of Region 9's issuance of NPDES Permit No. AZ0024112. Pursuant to 40 C.F.R. § 124.19(f)(1)(i), EPA, Region 9 provided notification of a Final Permit Decision.  NPDES Permit AZ0024112 takes effect on November 15, 2004.

BACKGROUND
On February 27, 2002, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), EPA Region 9, issued an Amended Record of Decision/Finding of No Significant Impact (ROD/FONSI) supporting issuance of an NPDES permit to the Carlota Copper Co. The February 27, 2002 ROD/FONSI amended the Record of Decision issued on July 24, 2000. EPA, Region 9 based the Amended ROD/FONSI on the analyses included within the three NEPA documents prepared for the project: the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), issued July 22, 1997, by the U.S. Forest Service, the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) issued January 23, 1998, by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Supplemental EA public noticed by EPA, Region 9 on July 24, 2000.

EPA Region 9 initially issued the final NPDES permit for the Carlota Copper Co. on July 24, 2000. Subsequent to issuance, the National Wildlife Federation and the Western Mining Action Project filed a petition for review of the NPDES permit with the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). In accordance with 40 CFR §124.19(d), EPA withdrew the two contested permit conditions in order to review compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and to allow for public comment on the two permit conditions. The two contested conditions under Part I.A.11 of the permit are described as follows:

Part I.A.11.a
Reclamation activities to be performed at the Gibson mine to reduce copper loadings to Pinto Creek prior to commencement of discharge,

Part I.A.11.b.
Wellfield Mitigation Program allowing periodic discharges of ground water from a developed wellfield to a Water of the U.S.

On May 9, 2001, EPA public noticed the two withdrawn conditions and a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) which analyzed the permit conditions under NEPA. A response to the public comments on the two withdrawn conditions and the Supplemental EA has been prepared by EPA and is attached below. 

Supplemental Environmental Assessment, Response to Comments, Amended Record of Decision

Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) (PDF) (89 pp, 470K, About PDF)

Final NPDES permit (PDF) (13 pp, 91K, About PDF)

Response to Comments on the Supplemental EA (PDF) (Feb 27, 2002) (93 pp, 199K, About PDF)
Please note: the original PDF translation of this document omitted words on pages 10, 26, 31, 44, and 49. This version corrects these typographical errors (updated: March 13, 2002).

Amended Record of Decision/Finding of No Significant Impact (PDF) (Feb 27, 2002) (11 pp, 30K, About PDF)

Public Notice: AZ-02-W-02 (PDF) (Feb 27, 2002) (2 pp, 8K, About PDF)

On February 27, 2002 EPA re-issued a modified NPDES permit and prepared a response to comments.  Subsequent to issuance, the National Wildlife Federation and the Western Mining Action Project filed a petition for review of the NPDES permit with the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB).

For more information

David Smith (Smith.DavidW@epa.gov)
(415) 972-3464

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