Water Quality Committee meeting update


Review of WQCD Meeting

Refer to notes from previous meeting.

Stormwater may be an issue to take forward with PIF or Pat Pfaltsgraff. The WQCD’s interpretation of “overburden” qualifies any runoff from disturbed areas as process water, no matter how minimal the disturbance.

Downstream standards application and reasonable potential analysis has become a qualitative decision in recent permits. A quantitative reasonable potential analysis could be conducted on downstream waters, but the WQCD position on this is unclear at this time.

Numerous mining permits to be renewed in Upper and Lower Colorado. WQCD somewhat behind schedule but intended to start in October.

CMA members to find PFAS link and monitor progress.

CMA to decide how to take these issues forward since WQCD appears to be set in their stance. CMA could send a letter to Pat Pfaltsgraff on the primary issues (e.g. stormwater). The letter can cite the time lost by both parties in litigation, permit comment and response, etc.

Permit Issues Forum Update

The Division discussed the Upper and Lower Colorado permitting plan, changes to regulation 41 (groundwater points of compliance), temporary modifications, and the construction general permit.

The changes to regulation 41 appear to focus on 1) changes to the NPL and 2) changes to the point of compliance. The NPL discussion indicated that WQCD is pursuing changes to the NPL up to the numeric standard. The point of compliance issue is whether it should be located at the permit boundary or within the permit boundary (or in some cases outside of the permit boundary at the receiving water resource). Need to review DRMS / WQCD Memorandum of Understanding that addresses this issue.

Discussion with DRMS indicated there were going to be two meetings with WQCD staff to clarify the issue. Mining operations were going to be discussed. DRMS was going to determine if the draft proposal was available to the public.

Member Permitting/Standards Issues

Mountain Coal Company NPDES permit issued with the WQCD response to comments (including CMA comments). Send link to permit and factsheet to Stan.

WQCD 10-Year Roadmap

No additional meetings. Next meeting November 5, 9:00–12:00.

Rulemaking Hearings

Temp mods hearing: WQCD proposed numeric limits based on 5/10-year historical maximum effluent concentration. In responsive prehearing statements EPA is requesting numeric limits that achieve some improvement in water quality and use of “pollutant minimization plans.” CMA members to review how the WQCD responds to this request.

303(d) Hearing: Some members seeing issues with listing decisions based on limited or out-of-date data. Will report back when hearing is completed.

Regulation 41 upcoming rulemaking change to be monitored.

Federal Issues

Waters of the US repeal: Issued in Federal Register today.

Other Issues

Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety

Army Corps of Engineers