DEQs fact sheet about
Water Quality Permits for Metal Mining Activities
describes all water quality permits required for metal
mining/prospecting and ore processing operations that discharge
wastewater to the land and state waters. This fact sheet also provides
contact information for related mining authorities because
DEQ requires permittees to comply with requirements of local, state, and
federal agencies in Oregon.
In the following sections, DEQ has additional information and
hyperlinks to Internet web pages of water quality permits and
applications required for metal mining in Oregon.
Permitting procedures and fees for DEQs water quality permits are
Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 340-045. Fees for the suction
dredges are in ORS 468B.052
DEQ's 700-PM general permit applies to small suction dredges
and in-water non-motorized mining equipment (i.e., hand sluice,
that recover precious metals or minerals from stream-bottom
sediments. Only suction dredge operators must register for this reissued permit and
submit an application and fee.
The NPDES 700-PM permit is valid statewide. However, the
location of the main mineral claim or area to be mined is required for
the NPDES 700-PM permit application and monitoring record.
Township, range, and section for the main mining location can be found
on USGS and BLM maps and DEQ's Internet
tools which include an
example with instructions.
Operators of in-water non-motorized mining equipment (like hand sluice
box and rocker box) do not need to apply for coverage or pay the fee,
but operators must follow applicable parts of the reissued 700-PM
permit, including not using equipment where fish eggs are present.
DEQ references supplemental documents for conditions to protect water
quality and beneficial uses in the NPDES 700-PM permit. Persons assigned to the NPDES 700-PM permit must not
operate a suction dredge more than 16 horsepower or with an inside
diameter intake nozzle greater than four inches in
habitat (ESH). Suction dredging is allowed only during the
in-water work schedule (Timing of In-Water Work to Protect Fish and
Wildlife Resources) as set by the Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife, unless DFW has given expressed written authorization.
Suction dredging is not allowed in state
scenic waterways. No wastewater discharges are allowed where
the visible turbidity plume impacts the intake of a
drinking water source from any placer mining operation.
Measures must be taken to prevent the spreading of
With the exceptions given in Special Condition 19 of Schedule C in
the NPDES 700-PM permit, suction dredging is prohibited on any stream
segment that is listed as water quality limited for sediment, turbidity,
or toxics on the list published by Department of Environmental Quality
pursuant to OAR 340-041-0046. DEQ provides a table of the
Streams and TMDL-Approved Streams for suction dredging.
Mining must not cause any measureable increase in turbidity in the
Diamond Peak, Kalmiopsis, Eagle Cap, Gearheart Mountain, Mount Hood,
Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Mountain Lakes, Oregon Islands,
Strawberry Mountain, Three Arch Rocks, and Three Sisters Wilderness
areas. Measureable increase in turbidity is measured as visible
Operators of dredges who are ineligible for coverage
under this NPDES 700-PM permit may apply for an individual NPDES Permit
(see next section).
You may also need a
general authorization or removal-fill permit from the Oregon Department
of State Lands (DSL) in addition to DEQ's NPDES 700-PM permit. DSL's Recreational & Small-scale Placer Mining web page has both
permitting and Essential Salmon Habitat and Scenic Waterways
Placer Mining on Tribal Lands
Assignment of 700PM general permit coverage does not authorize
discharges to surface waters from suction dredge mining operations
on tribal lands. The State of Oregon does not have jurisdiction to
regulate surface water discharges on tribal lands; that authority
lies with either the tribe or the U. S. Environmental Protection
In addition, assignment under the 700PM general permit does not authorize discharges from mining operations into waterways that constitute a boundary of a tribal reservation. Mining in these waters would require an individual discharge permit from DEQ to ensure that tribal water quality standards are protected.
Placer Mining on Federal Lands
Mining activities on federal lands need to be conducted in
compliance with the DEQ permit and with any additional terms or
conditions established by a federal agency. Before undertaking
mining activities on federal lands in Oregon, miners should contact
the appropriate federal district office to see if there are any
restrictions or conditions with regard to mining activities or
access to areas where mining will take place. Requirements may
differ from one district to another.
U.S. Forest Service (Region 6): Call the district ranger for the national forest where you want to mine or see
U.S. Bureau of Land Management: See
or call 503- 808-6008
NPDES 700-PM General Permit (Reissued July 30, 2010)
Surcharge on Suction Dredge Mining Permit: Frequently Asked
Reference Materials for 700-PM Application and
2012-2014 NPDES 700PM General Permit Renewal
March 2013 Permit Renewal Meeting in Medford
DEQ held its first meeting to seek input on the renewal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general water quality discharge permit for small suction dredge operations and in-water, non-motorized mining. The permit expires December 31, 2014.
The meeting was held in the large conference room at the Medford branch of the Jackson County Public Library at 205 South Central Ave., Medford on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Please see the attached invitation for more details about discussion topics and future meetings.
Audio from the March 7, 2013 meeting:
A representative from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife provided an update on the suction dredge mining moratorium in California. More details
on California’s Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) including Appendix D, Literature Review and Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) are available by accessing their web site below.
Suction Dredge Permitting Program - California Department of Fish and Wildlife
The following are a summary of written and oral comments and
questions received at the March 7th meeting in Medford, and the
letter with the next steps for additional informal meetings later
this year and formal permit administration in 2014.
Summary of comments and questions from the March 7, 2013 meeting
Letter with DEQ's next steps
March 2013 Permit Renewal Small Group Meetings in October
Material provided for small group meetings
Other Mining Discharges:
Individual NPDES Permit
DEQ requires an individual NPDES permit for metal mining activities
with wastewater discharges to Oregon waters that do not qualify for a NPDES
700-PM permit. An
individual NPDES permit is required for high bank machines or other metal mining activities which are located on
the bank or upland and discharge to a stream or groundwater. Large
suction dredges (powered or siphon/gravity) or mining activities
using chemical agents (e.g., cyanide, flocculants) require an
individual NPDES permit to discharge to state waters.
This individual permit only applies to a specific operation and
location or mining claim.
New individual NPDES permit application forms and fees:
OAR 340-075-0075 Permit Fee Schedule - Table 70A for application fee ($9,445 to $46,936) and Type B11-B12 of Table 70B for annual fees ($1,536-$16,412) due with application submittal);This permit copy is provided
for reference purposes only. An application must be submitted to the
Oregon DEQ for coverage under WPCF 600 General Permit. Applicants
will receive a signed copy of the permit after processing the
ORS 468B.052 ($300) for suction dredges with an inside hose
diameter of greater than 6 inches, but not more than 8
Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS)
signed by the local land use authority;
EPA Form 1; and
EPA Form 2D for new industrial
process wastewater or any mixture of process wastewater, non process wastewater and/or stormwater.
Existing individual NPDES permit renewal forms and fees:
DEQs general Water Pollution Control Facilities (WPCF) 600 permit
covers sources of small-scale mining operations and non-chemical
ore-processing methods with disposal of wastewater by evaporation
and/or seepage (operations must be off-stream above ordinary high
water level, and discharge to Oregon waters is prohibited).
WPCF 600 Application Form and Permit:
WPCF 600 Application Form
WPCF 600 Permit - This permit copy is provided for
reference purposes only. An Application must be submitted to
the Oregon DEQ for coverage under WPCF 600 General Permit.
Applicants will receive a signed copy of the permit after processing
DEQ requires an individual WPCF permit for
wastewater management if an owner or operator proposes a metal
mining activity that processes more than 10,000 cubic yards of
ore per year with no discharge to Oregon waters.
This individual permit only applies to a specific operation and
location or mining claim.
New individual WPCF permit application forms and fees:
OAR 340-075-0075 Permit Fee Schedule
- Table 70A for application fee ($9,445-$46,936) and Type B11-B12 of
Table 70B for annual fees ($1,353-$15,232) due with application submittal);
LUCS signed by the local land use authority; and
DEQ WPCF-N for new industrial wastewater
management with no discharge to state waters.
Existing WPCF permit renewal form and fee:
The metal mining activity owner or operator may need to also
register for coverage under additional general stormwater discharge
For off-stream activities, miners often utilize all local water
resources including stormwater to fill off-stream ponds (engineered
impoundments, excavated pits, or natural land depressions) to operate
the high bank machine, trommel, or powered sluice box. Stormwater may be
diverted away from mining activities to prevent contact or minimize the
volume of contaminated stormwater to manage. Stormwater contacting any
mining activity must be managed on site (seepage and evaporation) or an
industrial stormwater discharge permit is required.
Program topics and current news is provided on the NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permits web page.
Industrial Stormwater General NPDES 1200-Z Permit: DEQ requires
an application for the general NPDES 1200-Z permit for potential
industrial stormwater discharges to Oregon waters from Standard
Industrial Classification Code 10 (SIC
10) metal mining operations if the stormwater will
contact mining materials and/or waste (such as overburden, raw
material, intermediate product or waste products). DEQ requires a
stormwater pollution prevention and control plan with applications for
general NPDES 1200-Z permit coverage.
For information, forms, and the general permit for industrial stormwater discharges,
please visit DEQ's
NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permits Industrial Activities web page.
Construction Stormwater General NPDES 1200-C Permit: DEQ
requires a general NPDES 1200-C permit application for potential
stormwater discharges from construction activities that will disturb one
or more acres with potential stormwater runoff to Oregon waters or
conveyance systems (such as a catch basin, storm drain, ditch, pipe,
culvert, etc.) leading to state surface waters. Construction activities
include clearing, grading, excavation and stockpiling. DEQ also requires
an erosion and sediment control plan with the general NPDES 1200-C
For information, forms, and the general permit for construction
stormwater discharges, please visit DEQ's
NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permits
Construction Activities web page.
[Small Suction Dredges/General NPDES] [Other Prospecting/Mining Discharges] [Small Off-Stream Mining] [Large Off-Stream Mining] [Stormwater Permitting]