REMOVAL ACTIVITES ONGOING AT SITE
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The Brewer Gold Mine Site (the Site) is one of the oldest and most productive gold mines in the eastern United States. The Site has a history of gold mining dating back to the Revolutionary War. Reclamation/closure planning began after mining ceased in 1993. Starting in 1996, the company began treating acid mine wastewater on site as per National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. Late in 1999 Brewer stopped paying its employees, in effect shutting down the Site's wastewater treatment facility. With no treatment taking place the acid mine water was being released directly into nearby Little Fork Creek, a tributary of the Lynches River. The acid pH and heavy metals content of this wastewater could potentially destroy most or all aquatic life in the creek and possibly the river. The ecosystem in and around the creek and river is sensitive and contains species that are classified as Federally Endangered, Critically Imperiled Statewide, or of State concern.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) requested emergency response assistance because the State lacked the funding to manage this incident. EPA responded and assumed the responsibility for operating the wastewater treatment facility.
The Site consists of a approximately 225 acre mining pit, a waste rock disposal area, and three pads where an acid solution was used in order to release the gold from the ore.
Current Site Activities:
-ERRS Crews have completed installation of the floating dredge in the Northwest Trend Pit and have begun sludge removal.