U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division
Characterization, Cleanup, and Revitalization of Mining Sites

This website provides site managers, regulatory agencies, consultants, and the general public with information on technologies and resources related to the assessment, characterization, cleanup, and revitalization of current and former (active, closed, and abandoned1) mining sites.

 

  • The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative will present a webinar on Re-imagining the Future of Mining Sites, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM (EST). The webinar will show how EPA works with mining stakeholders, including other federal agencies, states, tribes, local groups and industries, to address the serious health and environmental challenges posed by some mining practices, and to support the reuse of these areas to benefit the surrounding community. The webinar will explore the broad spectrum of safe and productive reuses possible at mining sites and present a case study highlighting several of these reuses in practice at a mining site near Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • EPA's Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation's recent webinar on Passive Treatment of Mining-Influenced Water: From Bench Scale to O&M has been archived and is available now. Instructors included Jim Gusek, Sovereign Consulting, Inc., Rick Weaver, U.S. Forest Service, Bob Hedin, Hedin Environmental, and Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited. The November 14, 2016 was the latest in TIFSD's CLU-IN Webinar Series on Mining.
  • EPA awarded $465,000 to Navajo Nation for water monitoring in the San Jan River. Monitoring will include sediment sampling and a fish tissue contaminant study to focus on potential human health risks associated with fish consumption, following the Gold King Mine Release.

Overview

EPA regulates three general categories of mining activities: hardrock mining, non-metals mining, and coal mining. Regulation of the mining sector involves every major EPA program. For example, EPA's EPA's Abandoned Mine Lands Program handles issues related to management of mineral processing wastes, while EPA Regional offices use statutory authority granted by the Clean Water Act to regulate coal, hardrock and non-metals mining activities through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits program. The EPA Superfund Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Program identifies ways to protect human health and the environment using regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to address contamination at abandoned mine sites. This may include Superfund remediation, voluntary cleanups, emergency responses, and cleanups leading to redevelopment and land revitalization. To coordinate the risk reduction and cleanup of abandoned mine lands, the AML Program works directly with other federal agencies, tribes, states, communities, and mine operators on research, characterization, cleanup, and redevelopment-related activities. The AML Program is coordinated through EPA's National Mining Team and Abandoned Mine Lands Team, which together serve as a focal point for coordinating and facilitating national technical, policy and process issues with stakeholders on abandoned/inactive mine research, characterization, cleanup and redevelopment activities.

Other federal government agencies involved in the management of mining sites include the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) (Mineral Materials Program and Abandoned Mine Lands Program), the U.S. Forest Service (Minerals and Geology Management), the National Park Service (NPS) (Mining Operations Management and Abandoned Mineral Lands Program), and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) (coal mine regulation and abandoned mine land reclamation). Federal agencies also have access to the Superfund program for removal or remedial actions. The Superfund program can be used when a significant environmental or public health threat is imminent, or where a site poses an environmental threat and no potentially responsible party can be found. Because ownership of lands on which mining sites exist ranges widely, management of these sites is a complex issue. State mining agency websites may contain more in-depth information on the number of mining sites and the total area they occupy within individual states. Links to state mining programs can be found through the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration resource area.

1 Information on the types of abandoned mining sites that exist across the United States and site ownership issues can be found through the U.S. Government's Abandoned Mine Lands Portal.

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