Regional News

Record of Decision Issued for Holden Mine Remediation

Jan 31, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology have signed the Record of Decision for cleanup of the former Holden Mine Site on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

The Record of Decision is the formal document stating the selected remedy for the cleanup of environmental contaminates at the inactive Holden Mine site located 50 miles north of Chelan. The remedy focuses on the cleanup of hazardous substances, at levels toxic to aquatic life, in the mine ground water and mine drainage being released into nearby Railroad Creek.

"Major construction in Phase I of the cleanup remedy should begin in 2013, and should take two years followed by five years of monitoring before Phase II of remedy construction will begin," Holden Mine Cleanup Project Manager Norm Day said.

The cleanup remedy includes the collection of water discharging from the mine and collection of groundwater impacted by the mine, tailings, and waste rock, Day said. Construction of a barrier wall and water collection system down slope from the former mining area, and adjacent to Railroad Creek will reduce the amount of contaminated water that would otherwise enter the creek. These waters will then be treated to remove hazardous substances before being released into Railroad Creek, he said.

A portion of Railroad Creek will be rerouted to reduce exposure to adjacent tailing piles. Heavy equipment will grade and contour the tailing piles and waste rock piles to reduce the risk of erosion and slope failure.

After reviewing the comments submitted during the public comment period, the Agencies included minor changes in the selected remedy, compared to the Preferred Alternative identified in the Proposed Plan presented to the public in 2010.

The Agencies considered a number of alternatives for the cleanup of the Holden Mine Site. The Agencies concluded that the selected remedy is the best option to protect the environment and public, while meeting regulatory requirements.

Contact Holden Mine Cleanup Manager Norm Day at (509) 664-9304 for more information on the cleanup remedy.

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