Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015 - 18


+

CLEAN WATER | COLUMNS

Fall 2015

ment to meet CWA effluent limitations
and water quality standards.
	 It also would have meant that companies must obtain CWA permits to
expand or otherwise modify existing
ponds, or close or reclaim them at
the end of their operating lives. The
National Mining Association, and
many individual companies, submitted
extensive comments pointing out the
lack of environmental need to regulate
these artificial ponds as WOTUS, and
the adverse economic consequences
that would result.

Except possibly for artificial ponds
that are constructed by
impounding WOTUS, the agencies
have never asserted that mining
artificial ponds are subject to
regulation under the Clean
Water Act.

The agencies' ruling has been opposed by the mining industry as well as environmental groups..

	 The final rule makes clear that
mining artificial ponds will not be
regulated as WOTUS, at least so
long as they are not constructed by
impounding WOTUS. Specifically,
the final rule excludes several types
of features from CWA jurisdiction
including: stormwater control ponds;
water-filled depressions incidental
to mining; wastewater detention and
retention basins; other constructed
ponds such as settling basins and
cooling ponds; and waste treatment
systems, including treatment ponds
or lagoons. These exclusions generally require that the artificial pond
be constructed on "dry land," which
although not defined in the rule, has
been interpreted by the agencies
to mean areas that are not water
features such as streams, rivers,
wetlands, lakes, natural ponds and
the like. The rule's preamble emphasizes that not only are such artificial

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015

Contents
Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015 - Cover1
Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015 - Cover2
Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015 - 1
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Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015 - Cover3
Energy & Mining International - Fall 2015 - Cover4
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