Public hearing Thursday on water treatment plan for North Star Mine |

Public hearing Thursday on water treatment plan for North Star Mine

Nevada County residents get the chance this Thursday to give their opinions about a proposed water treatment plan for the former North Star Mine.

A public hearing on a use permit for the treatment project is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Eric Rood Administration Center, 950 Maidu Ave.

“It’s open to the public,” said Brian Foss, the county’s planning director. “We have had concerns about the aesthetics of the site, some mosquito control issues.”

Planning staff has recommended the commission approve the permit, which could occur Thursday. New Verde Mines, LLC, an entity of Newmont Mining Corp., owns the property and requested the permit, Foss said.

If approved Thursday, Newmont wants to start implementing the treatment system immediately and have it operational before next year, he added.

“That would be their goal,” Foss said.

The project would treat the water before it dumps into Wolf Creek by pumping it from the former mine’s Drew Tunnel. The water would travel through a series of pipelines to two large ponds, where a passive system would remove the metals.

The newly treated water would then soak into the ground.

According to a planning report, past mining activity released naturally occurring metals like iron, manganese and arsenic. Those metals get into groundwater and are discharged into surface water.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the water treatment. That treatment requires a use permit, which led Newmont to Thursday’s hearing.

Attendees will hear a presentation of the project and analysis by county staff. Newmont will then discuss details of the project before the meeting is opened to public comment, Foss said.

Some Nevada County residents have shown opposition to the proposal. A few argued the water treatment ponds are too close to residences, and would hurt property values.

Others are concerned about the appearance of the treatment ponds, and the possibility they could become mosquito breeding grounds, Foss said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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