Protecting the Santa Cruz River

Notice of Appeal and Request for Hearing

Before the Water Quality Appeals Board Department of Administration in and for the State of Arizona the Appellants (Listed below) filed a

Notice of Appeal and Request for Hearing

on the

Proposed Significant Amendment to Arizona Minerals Inc. Aquifer Protection Permit Inventory


Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)


  • Patagonia Area Resource Alliance
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Arizona Mining Reform Coalition
  • Borderlands Restoration Network
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Earthworks
  • Friends of the Santa Cruz River
  • Friends of Sonoita Creek
  • Save the Scenic Santa Ritas
  • Sky Island Alliance
  • Tucson Audubon Society

Summary and Conclusions

  1. All downstream aquifers, including those in Harshaw and Sonoita creek valleys, must be protected by a system of early-warning POCs (Point of Compliance) upgradient of the first drinking water well monitored on a Daily basis.
  2. POC-4 must be constructed, and baseline data collected for at least one full year prior to any large discharge from WTP2 to capture the range of natural variation in the system. This POC is important for tracking any changes in water quality that might result from the addition of 4500 gpm into Harshaw Creek, regardless of the compliance status of that discharge.
  3. Two additional POC monitoring wells should be installed between Outfall2 and the first shallow drinking water well in Harshaw Creek.
  4. EPA Secondary standards are critical for protecting the existing uses of Harshaw and Sonoita Creek aquifers. These aquifers are presently used without treatment except disinfection. Any additional load of sulfate, for example, may require local residents who depend on these sole-source aquifers to implement expensive treatment or seek a replacement (eg. bottled water) supply.
  5. AMI has not conducted a thorough and complete hydrologic study to assess the predicted impacts of pollutant releases on downstream drinking water aquifers. Am integrated hydrologic/hydraulic flow and fate/transport model should be used to assess the short-(hours to days) and long-term (months) nature and extent of pollutant release(s) at the Hermosa Property, as the surface and subsurface hydrologic system along Harshaw and Sonoita Creeks are strongly coupled. A much more rigorous hydrolooogic evaluation is needed, and a protection plan commensurate with those results must be developed.
  6. Compliance monitoring requirements should be consistent with AWQS and federal SDWA standards where they are stricter. Radionuclide monitoring should be required at all POCs, including Outfalls 1 and 2.

Friends of the Santa Cruz River