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Report on Powertech's application to the EPA for an underground injection control permit for the Dewey-Burdock Project

Posted February 23, 2009


Powertech's application to the Environmental Protection Agency for a permit to inject mining solutions into an aquifer near Edgemont, South Dakota will soon be posted on the internet. 

According to Steve Pratt, the EPA's Region 8 Groundwater Program Director, the complete application along with related documents should have been posted on the agency's Underground Injection Control (UIC) page by today. 

Earlier word from the EPA was that agency staff were in communication with Powertech regarding the identification and redaction of "confidential business information" (CBI) contained in the application.  According to Pratt, Powertech has agreed to release the application in its unredacted form. 

The application is for a UIC permit for Class III (mining) wells to be drilled at Powertech's Dewey Burdock in-situ leach uranium project.  As part of the UIC permit, Powertech is requesting an "aquifer exemption", which removes a portion of the affected aquifer from protective provisions of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. 

Since previous ISL uranium operations have occurred in Texas, Wyoming, and Nebraska, where the states have authority to issue comparable permits, this is the first time the EPA has been asked to issue a UIC permit for uranium mining.  Evidently, EPA Region 8 staffers are busy drafting guidance documents to deal with Powertech's application. 

Both Colorado and South Dakota require uranium mining companies to obtain UIC permits from the EPA's Region 8 office.  Consequently, Powertech's soon-to-be-released permit application will provide northern Coloradans with a good example of what to expect if Powertech submits a UIC application for the Centennial Project.