Kensington Mine owners settle with Environmental Protection Agency

Kensington Mine owners settle with Environmental Protection Agency

Violations were discovered in 2015.

The Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with Coeur Alaska, the company that owns the Kensington Mine northwest of Juneau, over violations at that facility.

Coeur Alaska will pay $534,500 for three separate violations and a fine for discharge violations that took place at the Kensington gold mine.

“Coeur Alaska’s Kensington mine generates and manages large volumes of both wastewater and stormwater containing pollutants that can degrade water quality and seriously harm aquatic life,” said Ed Kowalski, EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division director in Seattle, in a press release.

“By looking at the entire facility during the multimedia inspection, we had a clearer picture of day-to-day operations. Coeur Alaska can and must do better in order to comply with our fundamental laws that protect people and the environment,” Kowalski added in the release.

The violations were discovered in 2015 during a joint inspection by the EPA and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Violations include: 200 wastewater discharge violations, unauthorized discharge of acid rock drainage into Lower Slate Lake; improper operation and maintenance of sampling equipment; multiple effluent sampling violations; failure to develop a complete stormwater pollution prevention plan; failure to repair a secondary containment structure for over a year that holds a majority of the facility’s fuel; failure to conduct required monitoring, assessments, inspections and training; failure to use proper sample handling and analysis procedures; and failure to report releases of nitrate compounds annually from 2013 to 2017, according to the release.

As part of the agreement, Coeur consented to ensuring that acid rock drainage in Lower Salt Lake would be collected and treated before being discharged into the lake. On Aug. 1, the state of Alaska modified Coeur’s permit to authorize discharge of residual acid rock drainage into Lower Slate Lake.

A previous version of this article stated that the total fines to be paid by Coeur Alaska totaled over $1 million. The total of the three separate fines amounts to $534,500. This article has been updated to reflect the correct amount. The Empire regrets this error.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 8

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, April 12, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, April 11, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The sky and mountains are reflected in the water on April 5, 2012, at the Kootznoowoo Wilderness in the Tongass National Forest’s Admiralty Island National Monument. Conservation organizations bought some private land and transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service, resulting in an incremental expansion of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness and protection of habitat important to salmon and wildlife. (Photo by Don MacDougall/U.S. Forest Service)
Conservation groups’ purchase preserves additional land in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

A designated wilderness area in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest… Continue reading

A welcome sign is shown Sept. 22, 2021, in Tok. President Joe Biden won Alaska’s nominating contest on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Biden wins more delegates in Alaska and Wyoming as he heads toward Democratic nomination

President Joe Biden nudged further ahead in the Democratic nomination for reelection… Continue reading

Juneau Assembly members and other visitors examine a meeting room formerly used by the nine-member Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development on Monday, April 8, which is about 25% larger than the Assembly Chambers at City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Of three possible new City Hall buildings, one stands out — but plenty of proposed uses for other two

Michael J. Burns Building eyed as city HQ; childcare, animal shelter among options at school sites.

Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, speaks to members of the Senate majority caucus’ leadership group on Friday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Schools, university and projects across Alaska are set to receive money from new budget bill

Alaska Senate sends draft capital budget to House as work continues on a state spending plan

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska judge strikes down state’s cash payments to families using correspondence school programs

Decision will become a ‘hot-button legislative item’ in final weeks of session, lawmakers say.

A statue of William Henry Seward stands outside the Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau man convicted of sexual abuse of 15-year-old girl more than four years after incidents occur

JPD: Randy James Willard, 39, sent explicit videos to and engaged in sexual contact with victim.

Most Read