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Ohio EPA Issues Permit for CCU Coal and Construction LLC
Ohio EPA issued a final wastewater discharge permit today to CCU Coal and Construction’s Johnson Run Mine for a new surface coal mine in Athens County.
The permit allows the discharge from a sediment pond, which collects water pumped from the mining pits including runoff from the mine area, spoil piles, topsoil piles, haul road and non-paved parking areas. Discharge from the project may result in a change from current water quality conditions but does not authorize any violation of Ohio’s water quality standards.
Before issuing the permit as final, Ohio EPA reviewed the company’s application to ensure it would comply with federal and state standards, laws and regulations. A water quality certification was issued for this site by Ohio EPA in September 2017. The Agency also held three public information sessions and hearings about the project, one in February 2018, the second in May 2018, and the third in Oct. 2019 at Burr Oak Lodge and Conference Center in Glouster. The Agency reviewed and considered public comments received at the meetings and during the public comment period.
Based on Ohio EPA’s review of the draft permit and public comments received, the Agency added additional requirements for monitoring and reporting upstream, downstream, and effluent flow, downstream monitoring of total filterable residue, increased monitoring for metals that may be present, and decreased monitoring for parameters not likely to be present in the discharge. In addition, the permit requires CCU to operate the discharge so that there is more upstream flow in Johnson Run than the amount discharged in order to achieve an instream total filterable residue concentration protective of the existing biology downstream of the discharge. CCU adjusted its mining plan to eliminate 4 of the 5 previously proposed outfalls in order to avoid discharging to the most biologically sensitive areas of Johnson Run and to increase the time wastewater is treated prior to discharge. Outfalls 002-005 have, therefore, been removed from the permit.
The final permit and the response to comments document are available on Ohio EPA’s website.
Issuance of final permits can be appealed to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). Appeals generally must be filed within 30 days of issuing a final action; therefore, anyone considering filing an appeal should contact ERAC at (614) 466-8950 for more information.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.