Mining Program - Do I Need A Permit?

Do I Need A Permit?

If your mine site discharges or will discharge mine waste to surface water or to the ground surface you will need to apply for a permit (Waste Discharge Requirements or WDRs) from the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). Mining waste is defined very broadly in Porter Cologne Act § 13050 as “… all solid, semisolid, and liquid waste materials from the extraction, beneficiation, and processing of ores and minerals. Mining waste includes, but is not limited to, soil, waste rock, and overburden, as defined in Section 2732 of the Public Resources Code, and tailings, slag, and other processed waste materials …

Who are we and what do we do?

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) are State regulatory boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency.
The RWQCBs responsibility is to protect surface, ground, and coastal waters throughout the state.  The RWQCBs issue permits which govern and restrict the amount of pollutants that can be discharged onto the ground or into water body.
An important feature in the issuance of a permit is public participation. Through this participation, all parties can be heard and their needs addressed by their RWQCB.

Actions, such as the adoption of a permit or inaction by a RWQCB can be appealed to the SWRCB. The SWRCB can uphold the action, reverse it, send the matter back with further instructions, or decide not to consider the appeal.  Appeals must be made within 30 days of the RWQCB's action and they must be submitted in writing.

How do I apply for a permit?

If you are mining and have any discharge to land (overburden, waste rock, tailings, water to a pond, etc.), or surface water you will need to apply for a permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

If your mine is discharging pollutants (or proposing to) into surface water you must file a complete National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit application form with the Regional Water Quality Control Board.  This application would include a Form 200 and Form 1.

If your mine has any dischargers to land a Report of Waste Discharge must be submitted to the Regional Water Quality Control Board in order to obtain Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs).  This Report of Waste Discharge would include a Form 200 and be in compliance with Title 27 §22470 and §21710 et seq.

The following link is a brief overview Tech Note of the requirements for a Report of Waste Discharge (ROWD) for a mine site: ROWD Tech Note.