DENR monitoring Wharf Resources emergency discharge - KOTA Territory News

DENR monitoring Wharf Resources emergency discharge

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has reported an emergency discharge from Wharf Resources, the state’s only active gold mine.

Wharf officials contacted DENR earlier this week to warn that an emergency discharge was necessary. Melting snow and rain water is flowing into Wharf’s Ross Valley lined containment pond in quantities that exceed the company’s capabilities to pump to its treatment plant. To prevent damage to the containment pond, Wharf decided on Monday to begin an emergency discharge from the pond to Ross Valley, which flows into Annie Creek.

Water samples show the water in the containment pond does not violate the daily maximum water quality limits for any chemicals listed in Wharf’s discharge permit. While the water in the pond contains detectable levels of selenium, which is a heavy metal that can be toxic to fish and insects in high concentrations, the levels are low enough that no environmental impacts from the emergency discharge are anticipated. 

Wharf will collect daily water samples from the emergency discharge and DENR will provide regulatory oversight.  After the discharge is stopped, DENR will review the situation and water quality data to determine whether the emergency discharge was unavoidable or if an enforcement action will be pursued against Wharf Resources.

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