MPCA: PolyMet submits NPDES/SDS water quality application for NorthMet project

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PolyMet submits NPDES/SDS water quality application for NorthMet project

You are receiving this bulletin as a subscriber to the email notification list for the proposed PolyMet/NorthMet mining project. This list is hosted by the Department of Natural Resources but is used jointly by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and DNR.  If you are no longer interested in receiving these bulletins please use the links at the end to unsubscribe.

On July 11, Poly Met Mining, Inc. (PolyMet) submitted an application to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a water quality permit for its proposed NorthMet copper, nickel, and precious metals mining project in northeastern Minnesota. The permit is called an NPDES/SDS permit – National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System. These are the federal and state programs that regulate discharge of wastewater. Wastewater permits issued by the MPCA combine the requirements of both programs.

The permit application can be found at

 Water quality (NPDES/SDS) permit applications include a description of:

  • types of processes, sources, operations or areas which will generate wastewater
  • volume of wastewater to be generated
  • anticipated water quality of the wastewater generated
  • treatment the wastewater will receive
  • location of the discharge or disposal of the treated wastewater.

The information contained in the permit application helps the MPCA determine which state and federal requirements apply. The agency will review this application and determine if it contains all of the information necessary to start processing the application. If so, the MPCA will begin developing requirements for a draft permit that will ensure the project can meet applicable laws and requirements and preparing a draft permit for public input. During this process it is normal for MPCA technical staff to request additional information from the applicant.

Public input will be solicited if a draft permit is developed.  MPCA encourages public participation during the formal public notice and comment period when a draft permit is available for public review and comment. Additional information about the MPCA’s permitting processes for the proposed NorthMet project can be found at

This is one of several permit applications PolyMet will be submitting to the MPCA. You can find information about other permits and approvals and sign up to receive these updates from the MPCA and DNR at the state’s PolyMet web portal:  Subscribers to this email list will be notified of key steps in the water quality permit process such as opportunities for public comment, as well as news of any other applications the agencies receive.

Applications related to water appropriation and dam safety also were submitted to the Department of Natural Resources today. DNR will be sending out a message similar to this one related to those permit applications.