By ELISE GIORDANO
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and Mineral Services have been issued a notice of violation from the Department of Environmental Conservation due to lack of permits for water discharge at the ore terminal.
State DEC Environmental Program Specialist Shilo Williams said three unpermitted water sources were being emptied into a storm water infiltration gallery at the Skagway Ore Terminal, including a hose transporting potable water, and gray water and equipment wash water emptied in by unseen pipes.
Shilo said DEC had no permits on record for the discharge and so issued the notice of violation. She said the companies had not been aware of the issues and are willing to get in compliance.
AIDEA, the state agency which owns the terminal, and locally owned Mineral Services, which operates it, have until April 30 to submit a corrective action plan, which will then likely start the permitting process.
DEC is also requiring that Mineral Services, which is owned by Dave Hunz, redirect the water to an upland area and develop a disposal plan for the sludge from the equipment wash area.
AIDEA spokesman Karsten Rodvik said Capstone Mining is the terminal’s current tenant and Mineral Services operates the facility on behalf of Capstone. Copper concentrate is shipped to the facility from Capstone’s Minto Mine in the Yukon.
Rodvik said the hose had been placed in the gallery at the request of the municipality, so that the water main would have circulation and not freeze. The violation of the hose has been corrected.
“We are very pleased with how they are handling this. They jumped right on it and are working with DEC to complete this by [the end of] April,” he said.
The unpermitted discharge of the contaminated water not only violates state environmental rules, but a 1989 agreement that protects against future contamination.
The basin is currently awaiting a multi-million dollar mitigation of past lead contamination as part of the Gateway Project. Final plans for the cleanup should be completed within the next three weeks.
Rodvik said the issue will not interfere with any plans for Gateway. Hunz could not be reached for comment by this issue’s deadline.