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EPA Issues Draft Discharge Permits and Proposed Variances for Three Silver Valley Wastewater Treatment Plants

Release Date: 8/26/2002
Contact Information: Kelly Huynh
(206) 553-8414

August 26, 2002

Area residents are invited to provide comments on three draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and proposed variances for wastewater treatment plants(Plants) in North Idaho’s Silver Valley. Two of the permits - drafted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are for the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River Sewer District for discharges from the Page and Mullan Plants to the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River. The third permit is for the City of Smelterville for its discharge from the Smelterville Plant to the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River. NPDES permits are required under the Clean Water Act for all point sources discharging pollutants into waters of the United States. These permits update the facilities’ existing wastewater permits.
Permit Variances Proposed

All three permits would propose to include five-year variances from achieving water quality standards for cadmium, lead and zinc. The proposed variances are based on a demonstration that wastewater treatment controls more stringent than those required by technology based requirements would result in substantial and widespread economic and social impact to these Silver Valley communities.

Under the variances, the Plants will be required to keep the amount of metals discharged at or below their current levels and not increase the metals discharged. The Plants will also be required make reasonable progress toward attaining existing water quality standards as well as fix all cracks, leaks or other collections system problems to reduce the amount of metals entering the systems. The permits will not require the Plants to install new treatment technologies to control metals (SEE FACT SHEET FOR DETAILS).
How to Comment on the Draft Permits and Variances

Written comments will be accepted on the permits and metals variances until October 15, 2002. A public hearing will be held on October 1, 2002, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Silver Hills Middle School in Osburn, Idaho. A sign-in process will be used for people wishing to make a statement or submit written comments at the hearing.

EPA will consider all comments before issuing the final permits and variances for metals. Comments on draft permits and proposed variances should be addressed to: Office of Water Director, U.S. EPA, Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue, OW-130, Seattle, WA 98101.

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