DEQs fact sheet,
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 DEQ's water quality permits are
Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 340-045. Fees for suction
dredge permits are in ORS 468B.052.
Proposed 700PM General Permit Renewal
April 28, 2014, people may comment on the proposed revised 700PM
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general water quality
discharge permit. This permit allows but limits discharge of
wastewater from suction dredges and in-water, non-motorized mining
equipment. It contains limits on the type and size of equipment that
may be used for in-water mining activity, new reporting requirements
for suction dredge operations and revised best management practices.
Please note that this permit does not cover mining in any stream
segment listed as water quality limited on DEQ's 303(d) list for
turbidity, sediment or toxics. DEQ intends to issue this revised
permit by the end of June 2014, with an effective date of Jan. 1,
Information on the dates and times of the public hearings for the
proposed 700PM general permit requirements are in the public notice.
The public comment period ends 5 p.m. on Monday, April 28,
Current NPDES 700PM General Permit (Expires Dec. 31,
Surcharge on Suction Dredge
Mining Permit: Frequently Asked Questions
DEQ's current 700-PM general permit applies to suction dredges
and in-water non-motorized mining equipment (such as hand sluices,
that recover precious metals or minerals from stream deposits. Only suction dredge operators must register for this permit and
submit an application and fee.
The current NPDES 700PM permit is valid statewide. However, the
location of the main mineral claim or area to be mined is required for
the 700PM permit application and monitoring record.
Township, range and section for the main mining location can be found
on U.S. Geological Survey and federal Bureau of Land Management maps and DEQ's Internet
tools, which include an
example with instructions.
Operators of in-water non-motorized mining equipment don't need to apply for coverage or pay the fee,
but operators must follow applicable parts of the current 700PM
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 current 700PM permit. Persons assigned to this permit must not
operate a suction dredge more than 16 horsepower or with an inside
diameter intake nozzle greater than four inches in
habitat. 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 that agency has given expressed written authorization.
Suction dredging is not allowed in state
scenic waterways. No wastewater discharges are allowed where
the visible turbidity plume affects 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 current 700PM 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 DEQ. 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, Gearhart 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 700PM permit may apply for an individual NPDES permit.
You may also need a
general authorization or removal-fill permit from the Oregon Department
of State Lands in addition to DEQ's 700PM permit. DSL's Recreational & Small-scale Placer Mining web page has both
permitting and Essential Salmon Habitat and Scenic Waterways
Reference Materials for 700PM Application and General
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
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 700PM 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 (such as 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 and Type B11-B12 of Table 70B for annual fees due with application submittal. An application must be submitted to the
Oregon DEQ for coverage under the Water Pollution Control Facilities 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 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
Oregon DEQ for coverage under the 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 and Type B11-B12 of
Table 70B for annual fees 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:
Metal mining activity owners or operators may need to also
register for permit 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 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 this permit. The permit covers 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
1200-Z permit coverage.
For information, forms, and the general permit for industrial stormwater discharges,
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 this
For information, forms, and the general permit for construction
stormwater discharges, 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]