Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Mining Point-of-Compliance Determinations

As stated in the Idaho Ground Water Quality Plan, it is Idaho's policy 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 ensured, a point-of-compliance determination is issued. Current points of compliance are listed below:

  • Idaho Cobalt Project Point of Compliance Determination (March 22, 2011)
    The Idaho Cobalt Project is a proposed underground cobalt-copper-gold mine located approximately 45 miles west of Salmon in east-central Idaho.
  • Blackfoot Bridge Mine Second Modified Point of Compliance Determination
    (March 20, 2013)
    This determination incorporates the original June 14, 2011 point-of-compliance determination, December 22, 2011 first modification, and new modifications due to conditions encountered during 2012 well installation and infrastructure construction.
  • South Rasmussen Mine Point of Compliance Determination (October 29, 2014) This determination is divided into four parts. The introduction gives general background information along with the explanation of state authority for regulating ground water. The second part discusses the POC and baseline wells proposed as part of the original application while the third part speaks to additional POC wells DEQ feels necessary for adequately monitoring the site. The final section discusses the monitoring plan for the ground water wells.
  • Lanes Creek Mine Determination (June 12, 2015) This determination is divided into four parts. The introduction gives general background information along with an explanation of state authority for regulating ground water. The second part discusses the POC and indicator wells proposed as part of the original application. The third part speaks to additional POC wells DEQ has determined necessary to ensure there is no injury to current or projected future beneficial uses of ground water or violation of surface water standards. The final section discusses the monitoring plan for the ground water wells.
  • North Rasmussen Ridge Mine Determination (February 22, 2016) This determination is divided into four parts. The introduction gives general background information along with an explanation of state authority for regulating ground water. The second part discusses the POC and indicator wells proposed as part of the original application. The third part speaks to additional POC wells DEQ has determined necessary to provide monitoring information to ensure there is no injury to current or projected future beneficial uses of ground water or violation of surface water standards. The final section discusses the monitoring plan for the ground water wells.
  • Rasmussen Valley Mine Determination (August 5, 2016) This determination is divided into four parts. The introduction gives general background information along with an explanation of state authority for regulating ground water. The second part discusses the POC and indicator wells proposed as part of the original application. The third part speaks to additional POC wells DEQ has determined necessary to ensure there is no injury to current or projected future beneficial uses of ground water or violation of surface water standards. The final section discusses the monitoring plan for the ground water wells.
  • Caldwell Canyon Mine Determination (November 21, 2016) This determination is divided into four parts. The introduction gives general background information along with an explanation of state authority for regulating ground water. The second part discusses the POC and indicator wells proposed as part of the original application. The third part speaks to additional POC monitoring wells DEQ has determined necessary to ensure there is no injury to current or projected future beneficial uses of ground water. The final section discusses the monitoring plan for the ground water wells.

Staff Contacts

Ground Water Program Manager
Ed Hagan
DEQ State Office
Water Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0356
ed.hagan@deq.idaho.gov

More Information

Ground Water Quality Rule