Hearing Scheduled August 23 in Crawford for Proposed Aquifer Exemption
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has scheduled a public hearing regarding a proposal to exempt a portion of the Chadron Aquifer north of Crawford. This portion of the aquifer is associated with a proposed expansion area for the Crow Butte Resources (CBR) uranium mining facility. The proposed exemption would prevent that designated area of the aquifer from being used as a drinking water source in the future.
The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 23, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the auditorium of the Crawford Public High School, 908 5th St., Crawford. Prior to the public hearing, NDEQ will host an information session to informally answer questions the public may have about the proposed exemption, the proposed expansion and related topics. The information session will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the auditorium.
The petition for aquifer exemption provides monitoring data and analysis to show that the groundwater in the Chadron Aquifer within the proposed boundary: 1) does not currently serve as a source of drinking water; and 2) cannot and will not serve as a source of drinking water in the future because it is mineral-bearing and it would be impractical to treat that water to make it fit for human consumption. The proposed exemption covers approximately 2,100 acres, with a depth of approximately 350 to 700 feet. (A map and legal description of the aquifer proposed to be exempted is attached below).
Related to this proposed exemption, CBR mining facility has submitted a Class III Underground Injection Control (UIC) well permit application to expand its operation into this area. That application is still under review by NDEQ. CBR must first receive the aquifer exemption before the state can propose to issue a Class III permit. The purpose of the August 23 hearing is to obtain public comment regarding the proposed aquifer exemption, and is not a hearing on the Class III permit application.
Additionally, a Class I UIC non-hazardous injection well permit is proposed for CBR’s currently operating uranium production facility south of Crawford. The Department’s decision regarding this permit is open for written public comment, and a public hearing for the Class I permit decision will be held separately, on September 23, 2010. CBR has operated a Class I well at their facility south of Crawford since 1995. This new Class I well would be the third in the state.
Persons may submit written comments to the proposed aquifer exemption by writing to Michael J. Linder, Director, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8922. Although the public notice had listed an August 10 end date to submit comments, this date was subsequently extended to August 23, through the end of the public hearing.
Copies of the fact sheet and all information pertaining to the petition for aquifer exemption will be available for viewing and copying at the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Suite 400, 1200 N Street, The Atrium, in Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, 430 East Second Street, in Chadron between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, or mailed upon request.
Individuals requiring special accommodations or alternate formats of materials should notify the Department by calling (402) 471-2186. TDD users should call (800) 833-7352 and ask the relay operator to call the Department at (402) 471-2186.
More information can be found at NDEQ’s web site http://deq.ne.gov/, by going to NDEQ News/Topics of Interest, and selecting “Two Hearings Scheduled Related to Crow Butte Resources.” The direct URL is: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/CBR
Below is the legal description and map showing the aquifer proposed to be exempted:
(See attached file: Description and map.pdf)
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