Cleanup and Redevelopment of the London Mine
Joseph G. Harrington, President, MineWater LLC
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MineWater entered into a Consent Order on Compliance/Settlement Agreement for London Mine with CDPHE in fall 2016. The COC/SA is the framework for cleanup of the historic mine property, guides future mining development and unlocks non-tributary water rights at the Mine. The Agreement provided for WQCC review of the water quality standards for the receiving streams to consider feasibility based standards, and enabled prospecting activities (drilling) permitted in consultation with CDPHE and DNR/DRMS authority under mining regulations.
Since entering the Agreement, MineWater has developed two large dewatering wells (24” boreholes, 1000 feet depth) at the western edge of the 70 miles of tunnels comprising the mine workings to prevent intrusion of limestone-saturated groundwater into the pyritic mine workings. Bypassing the alkaline water around the workings and dropping the phreatic groundwater surface prevents the degradation of this good water resource, enables MineWater to focus on the remaining worst-quality water without contending throughout the in-situ treatment process with the large flows previously intruding into the Mine, and delivers more than double the previous low-flow to the streams. In this way the quality of the stream and the capacity of the stream to cope with historic metals pollution is improved, and the amount of loading from the workings is reduced.
This combined regulatory and technical strategy provides a potential template for reclamation of other historic abandoned mines throughout the West.
Mr. Joseph Harrington is President of MineWater. MineWater researches, develops and implements innovative cleanup strategies for addressing environmental impacts of abandoned hard rock mine sites. Mr. Harrington led the design/build for the Gold King spill interim clean-up under emergency conditions which delivered a fully operational water treatment plant within 21 days. Mr. Harrington has published over 40 papers, conference talks and proceedings on strategies for addressing mine waste pollution issues. Mr. Harrington invented 6 patents on mine drainage source treatment. Mr. Harrington also led the 4 year in-situ bioremediation cleanup of the Globe Smelter in Denver Colorado, one of the first hydrometallurgical smelters in the United States to have been remediated, delisted from the National Priorities List (Superfund) and fully redeveloped for commercial use. 1,000 jobs have been created at the 80 acre Globe Smelter site that was slated for 300 years of pump and treat in the original (1993) ROD. Mr. Harrington was a 2004 delegate of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency for the preparation of the uranium guidance document (Uranium Redbook). Mr. Harrington was an advisory board member of Energy Metals and then for Uranium One (ending before the well-publicized sale to Russian interests). Mr. Harrington completed studies at the University of Idaho in biohydrometallurgy (undergraduate, magna cum laude) and conducted graduate studies in metallurgy (masters work at University of Idaho) and medicine (first year, Loma Linda University). Mr. Harrington received the John B. George award in metallurgy (University of Idaho), and was awarded a Barry Goldwater fellowship (1995).
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