Mine Rail Expansion Permitting & Monitoring

Project Description


Northwater performed a baseline condition stream assessment to support antidegradation permitting for a rail expansion project for a mine site in Utica, Illinois. This was followed up with a 5-year monitoring program for permit compliance.

Stream Assessment: The assessment included water quality analysis for various parameters, fish sampling and identification, macro-invertebrate sampling and identification, physical habitat characterization and an evaluation of groundwater and vegetation communities. The project included coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, development of a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) and detailed reporting. Northwater also completed a review of existing engineering plans and mitigation strategies and recommended a new and more cost-effective mitigation and stream relocation approach that resulted in timely regulatory approval, cost savings, and improved stream conditions. The permitting was completed on time under a critical timeframe despite several storms that delayed the progress of the stream sampling.

Monitoring: Immediately following the rail expansion, Northwater was retained on a 5-year monitoring contract to ensure permit and performance measures are met.  Stream stability, soils, and vegetation monitoring is completed each year at defined stations.  Annual reports are submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois EPA.  Northwater is also responsible for periodic herbicide application to address invasive species and provides ongoing technical support to mine staff.

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