NPDES Permit Dispute near Hot Springs, Arkansas

In March 2006, an individual citizen filed a request for review with the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued to Umetco Minerals Corporation for wastewater discharge from the Wilson Vanadium Mine. The Wilson Vanadium Mine is a 375-acre site located about 8 miles east of the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas in Garland County, Arkansas. The NPDES permit review was requested because the citizen believed that the permit would allow the discharge of wastewater that would create an environmental hazard, would allow the pollution of Wilson Creek and would adversely impact his property interest and his use and enjoyment area waters.

Lithochimeia worked on behalf of the individual citizen to review an extensive collection of documents obtained from UMETCO and from the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission. These documents included technical reports, surface water, groundwater and soil sampling data, discharge monitoring reports, administrative correspondence and others. In addition, Lithochimeia undertook a limited field sampling effort focused on better defining the distribution and occurrence of contaminated soils on the site. After extensive file review and two site visits, Lithochimeia developed an opinion that the wastewater discharged from the Wilson Vanadium Mine was process wastewater that contained nickel, that the road right-of-way on the site was contaminated by metals and that non-permitted discharges were taking place from the mine site. Lithochimeia prepared an expert report and offered deposition testimony and testimony before an administrative hearing officer for the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.