Oct 17, 2014

Ore Knob Mine Community Meets With EPA to Address Drinking Water Cleanup

EPA meets with residents to find non-time critical cleanup alternatives for drinking water

Drinking Water Cleanup, Ore Knob Mine, North Carolina, Water Treatment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public meeting to inform the public of the draft Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) for the non-time critical cleanup alternatives for drinking water impacted by the Ore Knob Mine Superfund Site in Laurel Springs, Ashe County, N.C.

The meeting’s outcome will help EPA choose the best alternative to ensure residents living in the vicinity of the historical mining operations and flooded underground mine workings are protected from releases to groundwater at the Ore Knob Mine Site.

EPA screened technologies that could be used to permanently reduce risks from exposure to metals in groundwater and identified four alternatives for further evaluation. Four alternative water sources are evaluated in the EE/CA: (1) No Action (no additional action would be taken for alternative sources of drinking water); (2) Point-of-Entry Treatment Systems (commercially available water softening/treatment systems would be installed and maintained at each of the locations where risk was identified to remove groundwater contaminants); (3) Community Water Supply (provide clean water to the affected users by establishing a community water district and constructing a supply and delivery system for these households); (4) Municipal Water Supply (potable water would be purchased from the city of Jefferson and conveyed to affected users by extending the existing municipal water line from its eastern termination along Highway 88).

Public comments on the proposed alternatives in the document are being solicited from Sept. 5, 2014, through Nov. 3, 2014, so they may be factored into the final decision.

The EE/CA and other important site documents have been placed in the Administrative Record and are available for public review and comment. Documents in the Administrative Record may include, but are not limited to, inspection reports, test results and work plans. All interested persons are encouraged to review the documents and provide comments. Site documents can be read and reviewed at the Ashe County Library, 148 Library Dr., West Jefferson, N.C.

At the end of the 60-day comment period, a written response to all pertinent comments will be prepared in a responsiveness summary and placed in the Administrative Record. The final decision on the type of removal action needed will be a balance of engineering effectiveness, implementation concerns, cost, regulatory requirements and public comment.