NEWS: Utah environmentalists decry ‘haphazard’ plan to build pipeline for mine wastewater

Dec 10 2016 02:51PM

The permanent closure of PacifiCorp’s once-productive Deer Creek coal mine is nearing completion, but the utility still must figure out what to do with the millions of gallons of metals-laced water backing up in the Emery County mine.

Currently, it is spending $500,000 a month in a complicated pumping and ventilating scheme while it seeks final go-ahead to build a 5.6-mile pipeline from a mine portal to unlined wastewater ponds at its coal-powered generating station, located where Huntington Creek emerges off the Wasatch Plateau.

PacifiCorp, the parent to Utah’s largest utility, Rocky Mountain Power, developed the pipeline proposal after federal and state mine regulators, mindful of 2015’s catastrophic Gold King Mine release, nixed an initial plan to plug the old mine with concrete bulkheads, thus entombing the water in the mine’s extensive network of chambers and tunnels.

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