MPCA – Quarterly PolyMet permitting update




MPCA Quarterly Update

The following is a summary of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) activities during the third quarter 2017 regarding applications submitted by Poly Met Mining, Inc. (PolyMet) for its proposed NorthMet mine and processing plant.

The MPCA and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) send out quarterly messages summarizing activities and documents added to the project website in the previous quarter. For the most up to date information, check the state’s PolyMet web portal ( and MPCA’s project website ( It is also the MPCA’s future goal to use this email subscription list to notify the public in advance of any permit comment period or other opportunity for public participation.

Air quality permit

During this quarter, the MPCA continued to review the plans, modeling reports, and other elements of the permit application. Work continues on identifying applicable requirements and subsequent permit conditions, and drafting the permit, technical support document (TSD) and attachments. The MPCA continues to add air permit-related documents to the project website as they are revised and resubmitted by PolyMet.


Individual wastewater NPDES/SDS water quality permit

MPCA continues to review PolyMet’s NPDES/SDS water quality permit application.  Work is ongoing in the areas of antidegradation, permit limitations and monitoring, and other permit requirements.  MPCA continues to maintain conversations with EPA, as needed, during the review process.

Construction stormwater general NPDES/SDS water quality permit

No applications for Construction Stormwater General Permits were received this quarter.

401 water quality certification

On July 21, 2017, PolyMet withdrew and resubmitted its request for Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification. The purpose of the withdrawal and resubmittal was to preserve State 401 Certification authority for the project. The Clean Water Act gives states one year to certify federal permits and licenses. If a state fails to act, it waives its right to impose conditions on the federal permit through the certification. PolyMet submitted a 401 certification request to the MPCA on August 2, 2016. To avoid an automatic waiver of its rights, the MPCA would have needed to take action by August 1, 2017 (by certifying, denying, or affirmatively waiving certification). As a result of the resubmittal, the new deadline for MPCA’s certification decision is July 20, 2018.

The MPCA continues to coordinate with DNR and US Army Corps of Engineers in reviewing the request and determining appropriate wetland mitigation and drafting potential water quality certification requirements. The 401 certification request and related application materials are available on the project website.

You are receiving this message as a subscriber to the PolyMet email notification list.  This list is hosted by the DNR. It is used jointly by the MPCA and DNR to provide regular updates and share information about key steps in the permitting/certification processes, including opportunities for public comment.