Print Friendly SENATE BILL NO. 1375
– Mining, ground water protection
SENATE BILL NO. 1375
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S1375.................................................by HEALTH AND WELFARE
GROUND WATER - MINING - Adds to existing law relating to ground water and
mining to provide that certain naturally occurring constituents shall not
be considered contaminants; to require specified actions to prevent further
contamination upon the discovery of certain contamination exceeding ground
water standards; and to provide that designated existing authority shall
remain in full force and effect.
02/05 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/06 Rpt prt - to Health/Wel
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-ninth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2008
IN THE SENATE
SENATE BILL NO. 1375
BY HEALTH AND WELFARE COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO GROUND WATER; AMENDING CHAPTER 36, TITLE 39, IDAHO CODE, BY THE
3 ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 39-3640, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE A POLICY, TO
4 PROVIDE FINDINGS, TO DEFINE TERMS, TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN NATURALLY
5 OCCURRING CONSTITUENTS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED CONTAMINANTS, TO REQUIRE
6 SPECIFIED ACTIONS TO PREVENT FURTHER CONTAMINATION UPON THE DISCOVERY OF
7 CERTAIN CONTAMINATION EXCEEDING GROUND WATER STANDARDS AND TO PROVIDE THAT
8 DESIGNATED EXISTING AUTHORITY SHALL REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.
9 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
10 SECTION 1. That Chapter 36, Title 39, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
11 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des-
12 ignated as Section 39-3640, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
13 39-3640. GROUND WATER PROTECTION AND MINING. (1) It is the policy of the
14 state to protect ground water and to allow for mining above and within ground
16 (2) The legislature of the state of Idaho finds:
17 (a) Ground water is a valuable public resource and shall be protected
18 from unreasonable contamination or deterioration;
19 (b) Mining is an important activity that has widespread social and eco-
20 nomic benefits;
21 (c) Ground water and minerals are both vital to the people of Idaho;
22 (d) Mining, by its very nature, may use ground water and impact ground
23 water quality in a localized area notwithstanding the application of best
24 management practices;
25 (e) The localized impact to ground water quality from mining may result
26 in ground water being unavailable for other existing and projected future
27 beneficial uses at a mine site; and
28 (f) Mining should be managed to protect existing and projected future
29 beneficial uses of ground water beyond the mine site.
30 (3) For purposes of this section:
31 (a) "Affected ground water area" means the portion of an aquifer sur-
32 rounding a mineral extraction area where a naturally occurring constituent
33 is, or is predicted to be, present at a concentration above the natural
34 background level as a result of mineral extraction;
35 (b) "Mineral extraction" and "mining" mean drilling, excavation, extrac-
36 tion and mineral processing if that processing takes place in the proxi-
37 mate area of mineral extraction and also includes any overburden place-
38 ment, waste disposal and reclamation activities associated with that
39 drilling, excavation, extraction and mineral processing.
40 (c) "Mineral extraction area" and "mine site" mean the area surrounding
41 the place where mineral extraction occurs;
42 (d) "Naturally occurring constituent" means any element, chemical, ion,
43 radionuclide, compound, microorganism or other substance that occurs natu-
1 rally in the ground water or in the geological formations of rock or soil
2 surrounding the ground water before mineral extraction occurs;
3 (e) "Permanent cessation" means that no substantial mineral extraction
4 activity has occurred for the prior three (3) years unless the operator
5 has received a deferral from the department, or that final reclamation of
6 the mine site has been completed, whichever occurs first; and
7 (f) "Point of compliance" means the vertical surface where the department
8 determines compliance with ground water quality standards and shall not
9 include any area that is, or was, a mineral extraction area.
10 (4) Naturally occurring constituents found in ground water within the
11 affected ground water area shall not be considered contaminants during mineral
12 extraction and for a period of time, as determined by the department pursuant
13 to its rules, following permanent cessation as long as all applicable best
14 management practices, best available methods or best practical methods, as
15 approved by the department pursuant to its rules, appropriate for the aquifer
16 category are applied.
17 (5) The discovery at a point of compliance of any contamination exceeding
18 a ground water standard that poses a threat to existing or projected future
19 beneficial uses of ground water that results from mineral extraction shall
20 require appropriate actions, as determined by the department pursuant to its
21 rules, to prevent further contamination.
22 (6) All consent orders, compliance schedules and other agreements hereto-
23 fore adopted or issued by the department pertaining to ground water protection
24 at mine sites shall remain in full force and effect.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This bill specifies how the Idaho Ground Water Quality Plan,
adopted by the 1992 Legislature, should be implemented by
the Department of Environmental Quality with regards to
mining. It includes legislative findings and defines terms.
It provides that naturally occurring substances won't be
considered contamination in mining areas as long as the
mining operation engages in the most effective and practical
practices designed to achieve water quality goals and
protect beneficial uses. It also requires that a mining
operation protect ground water quality and meet ground water
quality standards beyond the mining areas.
There is no fiscal impact.
CONTACT: Jack Lyman
Idaho Mining Association
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1375