Five year review complete at Holden Mine

Open house Thurs., Nov. 8 in Chelan

Rio Tinto Project Engineer, Amber Carver, discusses reclamation work on toxic mine tailing piles above Railroad Creek with District Ranger, Kari Grover-Wier, on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Holden Village, WA in August, 2016. Photo Credit: USDA Forest Service by Holly Krake

 

CHELAN - The USDA Forest Service recently completed a five year review at the Holden Mine remediation site to evaluate if the construction of the past five years is performing as it should. This review studied water quality, soil contamination, and other aspects of protecting human health and the environment.

 

An open house is scheduled for November 8, 2018 at the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce from 6-7 p.m. to share more information on the project. Partners and stakeholders in this project include Rio Tinto, Holden Village, the Yakama Nation, Washington Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

 

“We’re in this for as long as it takes to get it right,” said Chelan District Ranger, Kari Grover-Wier. “While the first five years have seen massive progress, we want to make sure this watershed will be on track for recovery for decades to come.”

 

Abandoned in 1957, the Mine contaminated groundwater and surface water with toxic metals that washed downstream along Railroad Creek before polluting water in Lake Chelan. Unstable waste rock and tailings piles leftover from more than 10 million tons of mined ore further compounded the problem.

 

Key Review Findings for Phase 1:

  • Construction is occurring in accordance with the requirements of the Record of Decision, the Unilateral Administrative Order and the approved remedial design.
  • Water quality standards are being met for the treated water exiting the mine water treatment plant.
  • Restoration work is expected to be protective of human health and the environment when it is fully completed.

 

“While Phase 1 may be nearly complete, we’re working in close partnership with state, tribal, and other federal agencies to continue to monitor this watershed,” said Mario Isaias-Vera, a regional Remedial Project Manager for the USDA Forest Service. “Should it be necessary, Phase 2 would continue this important restoration work.”

 

 

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