Usibelli Coal Mine, Alaska, to Pay USD 60,000 EPA Penalty for Violating Clean Water Act

  • Date: January 27, 2011
  • Source: Admin
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According to documents associated with the case, the Mine had 11 unpermitted discharges into the Nenana River, Hoseanna Creek, Sanderson Creek, and Francis Creek between April 2007 and July 2010. During that time, the mine also had 10 violations of their discharge permit limits. 

According to Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Regional Office of Compliance and Enforcement, mining responsibly means paying attention and looking ahead to prevent future problems.  He believes that many of these discharges could have been minimized or avoided.  By simply using and maintaining best management practices, this penalty could have been avoided, believes Kowalski.  Mining responsibly means according top priority to water quality protection.

Sanderson Creek, Hoseanna Creek, Francis Creek, and nearby gravel ponds are all classified by the State of Alaska as suitable for use as water supply, water recreation, and growth and propagation of fish, shellfish, other aquatic life, and wildlife. Usibelli has to pay the fine and settle the case within 30 days from the signature date. 


Water pollution degrades surface waters making them unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities. Under the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into US waters. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. In most cases, the NPDES permit program is administered by authorized states.  The NPDES permit program is responsible for significant improvements to water quality in US. 





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