Notice of Proposed Issuance of an Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Individual Permit to Discharge to Waters of the U.S. and a Waste Management Permit - Donlin Gold Project 1 and Donlin Gold Waste Management Permit

The Permits and associated documents are available for review. For inquiries or to request copies of documents, contact:

DEC APDES Permit Contact:
Allan Nakanishi, PE
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Water
Wastewater Discharge Authorization Program
555 Cordova Street
Anchorage, AK 99501

DEC WMP Contact:
Tim Pilon, PE
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Water
Wastewater Discharge Authorization Program
610 University Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99709-3643

Public Notice Period:
Public Notice Start Date: December 15, 2017
Public Notice Expiration Date: February 13, 2018

Permit Numbers and Name:
Draft AK0055867 – Donlin Gold Project
Draft 2017DB0001 – Waste Management Permit for Donlin Gold, LLC

Proposed Project and Coverage:
Donlin Gold, LLC (Donlin Gold) is proposing the development of an open pit, hard rock gold mine in southwestern Alaska, about 277 miles west of Anchorage, 145 miles northeast of Bethel, and 10 miles north of the village of Crooked Creek. The proposed project would be located in an area of low-lying, well rounded ridges on the western portion of the Kuskokwim Mountain.

The proposed Donlin Gold project would require approximately three to four years to construct, with the mine life currently projected to be approximately 27 years. The mine is proposed to be a year-round, conventional “truck and shovel” operation using both bulk and selective mining methods.

The APDES permit authorizes the discharge of treated wastewater to Crooked Creek from Outfall 001. The proposed facility is expected to operate at a net positive water balance thus necessitating the need to discharge excess water. The water treatment plant (WTP) will utilize oxidation, clarification and greensand filtration, with reverse osmosis (RO) as required. The WTP will have a combined maximum design capacity of approximately 4,750 gallons per minute (gpm), with an anticipated maximum treatment rate of approximately 4,500 gpm. A mixing zone is not authorized under this permit.

The WMP authorizes the disposal and storage of solid and liquid waste to the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF); Class III Camp Municipal Solid Waste Landfills; American Creek Valley waste rock facility; ACMA and Lewis mine pits; Upper and Lower Contact Water Dams, and groundwater and surface water collection, and monitoring systems within the Donlin Gold Project footprint. In addition to the disposal of wastes listed above, this permit applies to hazardous chemical storage and containment, reclamation and closure activities related to all the facilities within the area, and financial responsibility to fund reclamation, closure and post-closure activities. This permit also covers monitoring requirements for the mine pits, waste rock, and ore stockpiles, and seepage collection systems. Additionally, this permit covers reclamation and closure activities for the TSF; ore, waste rock, and overburden stockpiles; and mine pits, including disposal to the mine pits as approved by the department. This permit is issued under the provisions of Alaska Statutes (AS) 46.03, and the Alaska Administrative Code (AAC), 18 AAC 15, 18 AAC 60, 18 AAC 70, and 18 AAC 72, as amended or revised, and other applicable state laws and regulations.

Mixing Zone: DEC does not propose a mixing zone for the discharge into Crooked Creek from the Donlin Gold Project facility.

Tentative Determination:
DEC has tentatively determined to issue an APDES and WMP permits for the activity described above.

Public Meeting and Hearing
The Department is holding public meetings and hearings to review the draft permits and gather comment at the dates and times listed below. The public meetings will involve a brief presentations summarizing the draft permits and a question and answer period. The public hearings are intended to provide the public an opportunity to submit oral comments regarding the draft permit. Public may also submit written comments in lieu of or in addition to providing oral testimony at the hearing.

Public Meeting and Hearing Schedule




Meeting Location

Aniak a

January 17, 2018

5:30pm to 7:30pm

Aniak Community Center
City of Aniak

Bethel b

January 23, 2018

5:30pm to 7:30pm

Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center
City of Bethel


January 26, 2018

6:30pm to 9:00pm

Atwood Conference Center
550 W 7th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501

a. The meeting in Aniak will be rescheduled to January 24, 2018 at the same time and location if weather prohibits the hearing on the scheduled date.

b. The meeting in Bethel will be rescheduled to January 25, 2018 at the same time and location if weather prohibits the hearing on the scheduled date.

Public Comments:
Written comments or requests for a public hearing on the APDES draft permit must be submitted within 60 days of the issuance of this public notice. Please direct written comments to the attention of the appropriate contact at the address or email identified above. All comments should include the name, address, and telephone number of the commenter and a concise statement of comment on the permit condition(s) and the relevant facts upon which the comment is based. Comments of either support or concern which are directed at specific, cited permit requirements are appreciated. Mailed comments must be postmarked on or before the expiration date of the public notice.

DEC will consider all comments when making the final decision, and will respond to received comments in a Response to Comments document issued when DEC issues a final permit. The Response to Comments will be made available to the public.

Any interested person may submit a written request for a public hearing if no hearing has already been scheduled. A request for a public hearing shall state the nature of the issues to be raised, as well as the requester's name, address and telephone number. DEC will hold a public hearing whenever DEC finds, on the basis of requests, a significant degree of public interest in a draft permit. DEC may also hold a public hearing if a hearing might clarify one or more issues involved in a permit decision or for other good reason in DEC’s discretion.

DEC will transmit the final permit, fact sheet (amended as appropriate), and Response to Comments to anyone who provided comments during the public review period or requested to be notified of DEC final decision.


Administrative Record:
The APDES draft permit, fact sheet, and associated documents are available for public review at the ADEC offices located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. Please contact the office of your choice to arrange for hard copies of the documents to be available for your review.

555 Cordova Street               610 University Avenue                       410 Willoughby Ave #303
Anchorage, AK 99501          Fairbanks, AK 99709                        Juneau, AK 99811
907-269-6285                   907-451-2100                                907-465-5300

If you would like to see any additional supporting technical documents, contact the Allan Nakanishi regarding the draft APDES permit or Tim Pilon for the draft WMP.

The documents are also accessible from the DEC website at:

To receive email notifications about the APDES Program, including when permits are available to review, follow the link below to join the APDES email list.

Disability Reasonable Accommodation Notice
The State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation complies with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you are a person with a disability who may need a special accommodation in order to participate in this public process, please contact Natalie Wolfe at (907) 269-0291 or TDD Relay Service 1-800-770-8973/TTY or dial 711 within 30 days of publication of this notice to ensure that any necessary accommodations can be provided.

Attachments, History, Details



Revision History

Created 12/14/2017 1:44:15 PM by cfishwick
Modified 1/5/2018 3:49:06 PM by cfishwick


Department: Environmental Conservation
Category: Public Notices
Location(s): Statewide
Project/Regulation #:
Publish Date: 12/15/2017
Archive Date: 2/13/2018
  • Comments Due
    2/13/2018 5:00pm