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Fairbanks-based mining company fined $12,000 for wastewater violations

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Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:35 pm

FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks-based mining company has been fined $12,000 by the state for illegally discharging wastewater from its operations in 2011.

CCR Mining Co. discharged wastewater from its mine site into Harrison Creek once in August 2011 and twice in September 2011, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The creek, located 83 miles northeast of Fairbanks, drains into Birch Creek, which is designated a National Wild and Scenic River.

CCR Mining’s permit doesn’t authorize the discharge of water from its mining operations. Other alleged violations included failure to report the discharges and failure to mitigate them.

DEC Program Manager Chris Foley said the discharges were reported by Bureau of Land Management biologists who were conducting fish habitat surveys in the area.

“They happened to be there when the water went from clear to turbid,” Foley said.

Birch Creek is listed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as an important spawning, rearing or migration waterway for anadromous fishes. The discharges exceeded state standards for turbidity, according to DEC.

According to DEC, a “large portion” of the penalty represents the estimated economic benefit CCR Mining gained by failing to comply with its permit. The company is co-owned by Creighton Lapp, of Fairbanks, and Charles Tillian, of Central, according to state records.

Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518.

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