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New Mexico Environment Department To Review Abatement Plans To Investigate and Define Groundwater Contamination from Potash Mine Discharges

New Mexico Environment Department To Review Abatement Plans To Investigate and Define Groundwater Contamination from Potash Mine Discharges

New Mexico Environment Department Reviewing Abatement Plan To Investigate Groundwater Contamination From Potash Mine Discharges

NMED News

CARLSBAD. The New Mexico Environment Department, (NMED), is currently reviewing a Stage 1 Absatement Plan (Plan). This Plan is designed to investigate and determine the extent groundwater contamination due to potash mining-related discharges.

Groundwater monitoring wells have detected groundwater contamination between Laguna Grande, the Pecos River and Laguna Grande. NMED therefore required Mosaic Potash Carlsbad, to submit the Plan for characterizing the nature and extent groundwater contamination from mine releases between Laguna Grande & the Pecos.

Mosaic Potash Carlsbad runs a potash mining operation about 16 miles east of Carlsbad, Eddy County. The mine includes an underground potash mine as well as a surface mill that produces potash products, including fertilizers for plant growth and animal feed.

The mill produces potash residues that are discharged into an on-site Salt Stack. Here, clay and coarse salt settle. Under normal operating conditions the salt water and residual potash flow off the Salt Stack, where they are discharged to a Clay Settling Pond. The Clay Settling Pond’s brine water is discharged via a brine pipe to Laguna Grande, a naturally occurring salt-lake.

The Laguna Grande brine is diverted to a series evaporation cells that are operated by United Salt and New Mexico Salt. This allows for chloride salt harvesting.

NMED approved the discharge plan and issued the first permit (DP-1399), for Mosaic Potash Carlsbad, in 2004. The permit was renewed in 2011. DP-1399 covers all site discharges and is currently in force. DP-1399 is currently being renewed in accordance with 20.6.2.3108 & 3109 NMAC. Visit www.mosaicpotash.org for more information about the renewal of permit for Mosaic Potash Carlsbad. https://www.env.nm.gov/public-noticesClick on Eddy County.

The Plan contains a summary and recommendations for steps to be taken to determine the extent of groundwater contamination. NMED will review the Plan in accordance with 20.6.2.4106(C), NMAC, and either approve it or send Mosaic Potash Carlsbad an Notification of Deficiency within sixty days.

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After Mosaic Potash Carlsbad has completed the site characterization, and NMED has approved the Final Site Characterization Report. NMED may then require a Stage 2 Absatement Plan. This plan outlines strategies to clean-up groundwater contamination that was incorrectly stated in a previous version.

Check out the abatement plan. https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/public-notice. For more information, contact Anne Maurer, Mining Act Team Leader at 505.660.8878 or Anne.maurer@state.nm.us. NMED is hereby notifying you of receipt of the Stage 1 abatement plan pursuant to 20.6.2 NMAC and 20.6.2.4108(A), NMAC of New Mexico Ground and Surface Water Protection Regulations (20.6.2 NMAC).

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