Protecting Public Health and the Environment.
As stated in the Idaho Ground Water Quality Plan, it is the policy of the state of Idaho to maintain and protect the existing high quality of the state's ground water and to prevent contamination of ground water from all regulated and nonregulated sources of contamination to the maximum extent practical. Under Idaho's Ground Water Quality Rule, DEQ is responsible for managing activities with the potential to degrade ground water quality of aquifers in Idaho. Best management practices must be employed to minimize the impact of contamination on ground water quality.
Because of the nature of mining activities, which involve the extraction of minerals above and within ground water, mining has the potential to impact ground water quality. The state's policy is to protect ground water while allowing mining activities to take place. To implement this policy, the Ground Water Quality Rule allows mine operators to request that DEQ set "points of compliance" outside the mining area, rather than within the mining area, where they must monitor, sample, and report on ground water and meet the ground water quality standards. This practice is designed to ensure that mining activities do not adversely impact ground water and interconnected surface waters while enabling extraction to take place.
To obtain a point of compliance determination, the mining operator must submit an application to DEQ proposing points of compliance as close as possible to the mining area. DEQ then evaluates the hydrogeological characteristics of the mining area and surrounding land, considering the potential contaminants and their impact on ground water quality, and public health effects. If the department determines adequate protections are assured, a point of compliance determination is issued. To date, DEQ has issued two mining points of compliance.
Ground Water Program ManagerEd HaganDEQ State OfficeWater Quality Division1410 N. HiltonBoise, ID 83706(208) email@example.com
Ground Water Quality Rule