Water quality and blasting are subjects of Mining Department hearings


The Oklahoma Department of Mines will hold hearings this week on proposed changes to its mining rules—those applying to the protection of water quality and sources, blasting and  groundwater basins.

As advertised by the department, one proposed rule change would apply to Non-Coal rules and Regulations and is the result of HB 2471 which went into effect in Nov. 1, 2019.

“The amendment pertains to non-coal mines and mining located overlying a sensitive sole source groundwater basin or subbasin,” stated the proposed amendment.

Another proposed amendment applies to the Water Quality Standards Implementation Plan. Under a state law, the Department of Mines is actually “mandated (to) develop and promulgate a Water Quality Standards Implementation Plan for the Department’s jurisdictional areas of environmental responsibility.”

The ODM indicated the new rule “proposes to maintain water quality where beneficial uses are supported, remove any threats to water quality whee the beneficial users are in danger of not being supported, and restore water quality where beneficial uses are not being supported.”

The third proposed amendment concerns Oklahoma Explosives and Blasting Rules and Regulations. The ODM said the request for the rule came from the non-mining blasting industry which asked that a subsection be removed because it is “too restrictive in its application.”

The subsection applies to trench construction blasting only and the blasting industry argues that such construction projects are typically over several miles of territory and adverse effects to structures decreases with increased distance.

The Department of Mines plans to hold three separate hearings on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. at its offices located at 2915 N. Classen Boulevard , Suite 213 in Oklahoma City.

The first hearing will focus on Chapter 25. It will focus on Chapter 25 which applies to the explosives issue. The second hearing will begin at 2 p.m. and will apply to Chapter 10 which concerns the non-coal rules and regulations. The third and final hearing will begin at 3 p.m. and will relate to Chapter 12 which is the Water Quality Standards Implementation Plan.


Source:  ODM public hearing notice