Technical contact: Jeff Udd, (218) 723-4843 Media contact: Anne Perry Moore, (218) 723-2356 All MPCA staff, toll-free, voice and TTY: (800) 657-3864 Duluth, Minn. -- In an effort to encourage increased public participation in the environmental permitting process, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will hold its second open house and informational meeting regarding wastewater management and permitting issues at U.S. Steel Minntac's proposed project in Mountain Iron, Minn. A similar meeting was held in Virginia, Minn. last April. The event is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2006 at the agency's Duluth office, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. An MPCA water quality permit engineer will present a permitting process overview, site-related permitting options, and answer questions from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The public can ask questions of MPCA staff and Minntac representatives at the open house sessions preceding and following the presentation. Formal public comments will not be taken at this meeting. A public comment period could occur within the next few months once draft permits are placed on public notice. Minntac's proposed water management strategy strives to reduce environmental impacts on the Dark River and Sandy River watersheds, and improve ore-processing efficiency. The proposal includes:
· diverting some of the discharge from the Mountain Iron tailings basin reservoir to the West Two River watershed;
· biological sulfate treatment on streams entering the tailings basin; and,
· evaluation and/or testing of a sulfate-reduction treatment system and an alternative water supply.
After ore processing, the remaining tailings are disposed of in a basin. The basin also stores water for later use and allows fine particles to settle out. The water discharge from the tailings basin is intended to reduce environmental impact on the receiving watersheds and improve ore processing efficiency.
In 2005, MPCA staff prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed discharge and it was deemed adequate by the agency's Citizens' Board. Based on that action, Minntac submitted water quality permit applications in August 2006.
Questions related to the Minntac proposal may be directed to Jeff Udd, water quality permit engineer, at (218) 723-4843, toll-free at (800) 657-3864 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Minnesota's water quality programs, visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us.