Lahontan Begins Treatment Study of Leviathan Mine
South Lake Tahoe - Equipment to treat acid mine drainage at Leviathan Mine has been installed by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Leviathan Mine is an abandoned inactive sulfur mine in Alpine County located approximately five miles east of Markleeville. The State of California acquired the mine in 1984 in order to correct water quality problems created by historic mining. Lahontan completed a pollution abatement system at the mine in 1985.
Acid mine drainage (AMD) is low pH water containing dissolved toxic metals. AMD is currently stored in five lined evaporation ponds at the mine. Periodically, AMD pollution from the ponds overflows to Leviathan Creek (tributary to the East Fork of the Carson River). If successful, the treatment will eliminate this periodic overflow by increasing the storage capacity in the ponds. The treatment is unique in that it utilizes a two-phase process, which neutralizes AMD and reduces the volume and toxicity of the solids produced by the treatment process. This process was developed at the University of California, Davis, under contract to Lahontan. The work effort has been coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Taking this project from bench scale to full scale has been challenging, but we are optimistic that this system will provide an immediate means to eliminate the winter-time discharge of AMD from the ponds.
The Lahontan Regional Board is a member of the California Environmental Protection Agency.