Illinois EPA approves Logan Co. mine project

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The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit Friday to allow Arch Coal to expand its Viper Mine near Elkhart.

The expansion involves adding a 282-acre coal waste storage facility. Illinois EPA’s permit was issued under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also approved the project in February.

Some who live near the mine have worried the expansion project could put their water supply at risk, but in responses to public questions and comments, the Illinois EPA said wastewater from the mine project is not likely to affect groundwater, since mine operators plan to line ditches and ponds with special material. Operators also plan to use storm water ponds to collect water and prevent runoff.

In its responses, the Illinois EPA also said that, if the mine project diminish the water supply’s quality, the mine’s operator would have to provide water of equal or better quality.

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