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In re HECLA Mining Co., Lucky Friday Mine

Case Number:NPDES Appeal No. 06-05
ELR Citation:36 ELR 41307

On January 26, 2006, Hecla Mining Company, Lucky Friday Unit (“Hecla”), filed a timely petition for review of the decision of U.S. EPA Region 10 (“Region”) to issue a final Clean Water Act (“CWA”) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit, dated December 28, 2005 (the “2005 Permit”), to Hecla. The 2005 Permit would authorize Hecla to discharge treated wastewater from Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine and Mill, located in Shoshone County, Idaho, into the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River. Hecla alleges that certain conditions of the 2005 Permit are clearly erroneous or otherwise warrant Environmental Appeals Board (“Board”) review. In particular, Hecla seeks Board review on the following three issues: (1) the 2005 Permit’s use of total recoverable metals rather than dissolved metals to express effluent limits; (2) the 2005 Permit’s upper limit for pH; and (3) the 2005 Permit’s inclusion of a requirement for both bioassessment monitoring and whole effluent toxicity (“WET”) testing. The Board held oral argument on this matter on July 13, 2006.