Mining in Nevada is regulated under the authority of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 445A.300-NRS 445A.730 and the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 445A.350-NAC 445A.447. Water Pollution Control Permits (WPCP) are issued to an operator prior to the construction of any mining, milling, or other beneficiation process activity. The need for a WPCP is not dependent on whether or not a discharge is intended, or the quantity of ore to be extracted or processed.
Facilities utilizing chemicals for processing ores are generally required to meet a zero discharge performance standard. A separate permit may be issued for certain activities at a specific facility, or a permit may be issued for all activities at a facility. A WPCP is required for the extraction of ore or previously processed material for beneficiation at any site. A WPCP does not apply to facilities involved solely in the mining and processing of sand and gravel, cinders, diatomaceous earth, slate, shale, gypsum, clay, or crushed stone. All local, State, and Federal laws and regulations must be complied with, including reporting requirements and permit requirements for activities that are not regulated by the WPCP (e.g. air emissions).
A WPCP application should be submitted at least 180 days prior to the planned construction date of any component of a mining operation or the planned start of mining. It takes approximately 180 days to obtain a WPCP. This time frame includes the public notice and a 30-day public review and comment period. A WPCP is valid for a duration of 5 years, provided the operator remains in compliance with the regulations.
A permit renewal is required to continue the mining operations beyond 5 years. Monitoring is required by the permit on a process and site-specific basis and reporting is required quarterly. Fees associated with the WPCP include application, annual, and renewal fees as specified at NAC445A.232. These fees may be reviewed by clicking on Applications & Fees.
Prior to submitting a WPCP application, the prospective applicant must meet with Division representatives to discuss location, operating plans, and general characteristics of the facility. The application, in addition to basic ownership and facility information, must include meteorological information, a complete description of the proposed activity, characterization of the ore, waste rock, and all potential receiving waters, and the production rate in tons of ore per year.
The application must be accompanied by required supporting documents on the design, construction, operation, and closure of operations. Documentation of notice to the local board of county commissioners is also required.
Issuance of a WPCP does not relieve the operator of the responsibility to secure the approval of any other State, Federal, or local agencies.