Pogo mine fined for hazardous waste management violations

Owners of the Northern Star (Pogo) LLC gold mine have been fined $600,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for improper storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous materials at its mine and laboratory at Delta Junction, Alaska.

The announcement on Tuesday from Stacy Murphy, acting director of the EPA Region 10 Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said that following an inspection in 2019 the EPA cited Northern Star for 81 violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The violations included failure to determine if waste from the laboratory testing was hazardous waste; treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste without a permit; disposal of some 364,450 tons of waste in the mine without proper treatment; and much more.

RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and to avoid long and extensive cleanups by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

In addition to the $600,000 penalty, the settlement includes that the company remove tanks that held hazardous waste and clean up any contamination.