Water Pollution

The following 6 links will take you to pages of my website providing detailed information on surface water and groundwater pollution at the Flambeau Mine site:

  1. Legal Actions –  Between 2004 and 2014, Wisconsin citizens and/or Tribes sought legal action against Flambeau Mining Company (FMC) on 5 different occasions for water pollution problems at the partially reclaimed Flambeau Mine site. Legal briefs, expert reports and news stories regarding these cases are provided for your review.
  2. Contaminated Drinking Water Groundwater within the backfilled pit at the Flambeau Mine site is highly contaminated with heavy metals and sulfate.  In addition, Flambeau Mine permit standards have been violated on a consistent basis since 1998 in a well located between the backfilled pit and the Flambeau River. Detailed information and expert reports documenting the groundwater pollution at the Flambeau Mine site are provided for your review in addition to graphs that show the levels of contaminants in select wells .
  3. Flambeau River – The Flambeau River is at particular risk for pollution caused by the partially reclaimed Flambeau Mine because: (1) the river is just 140 feet from the backfilled mine pit; (2) the mine’s 1200-foot pollution buffer zone (in which no groundwater standards apply or are enforced due to provisions contained in Wisconsin law) includes the river; (3) the direction of groundwater flow at the mine site is toward the Flambeau River; and (4) according to computer modeling submitted by FMC to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), contaminated groundwater from within the backfilled mine pit is indeed entering the river through fractured bedrock.
  4. Impaired Surface Waters (Stream C) – The Wisconsin DNR recommended to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late 2011 that a tributary of the Flambeau River into which Flambeau Mining Company, by design, had been discharging polluted stormwater runoff from the Flambeau Mine site since 1999 be listed as “impaired” for copper and zinc toxicity linked to the mining operation. The EPA agreed, so the tributary was added to the nation’s official list of “impaired waters,” effective April 2012. Pollution data, official reports and recommendations are provided for your review.
  5. Infiltration Basins – As of April 2013, at least two of the three infiltration basins designed by Foth Infrastructure & Environment (Green Bay, WI) and constructed at the partially reclaimed Flambeau Mine site to handle contaminated runoff from the mine operation have MALFUNCTIONED. First off, they do not meet WDNR technical standards, and, secondly, there have been at least two episodes of near over-flow of the basins. WDNR correspondence regarding the substandard performance of the infiltration basins and various technical reports are provided for your review.
  6. Information from: The Buzzards  Have Landed! – In 2007 Roscoe Churchill and I published a book about the Flambeau Mine: The Buzzards Have Landed! – The Real Story of the Flambeau Mine. The book discusses the evolution of Wisconsin’s mining laws, the politics involved in bringing the mine to Ladysmith, the economics of the project, and environmental concerns. We did numerous open records requests of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to obtain the environmental monitoring data submitted by Flambeau Mining Company to the Department, scrutinized that data and created numerous tables and charts that expose the serious nature of both groundwater and surface water pollution at the mine site. This and much more information is provided for your review.