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Pacific Coast Coal Company

Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) is a mining operation, on privately owned land, that mined coal from the 1980s to the late 1990s. The site and its operations are regulated by several agencies, including:
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE): Authorization to mine, post-mining land reclamation.
  • Washington State Department of Ecology: water quality permit.
  • King County: grading permit. 
OSMRE, which refers to PCCC’s site as the John Henry No. 1 Mine, is the primary licensing agency for coal mines.  PCCC has applied to OSMRE for authorization to resume coal mining, and that agency issued an approval on April 18, 2018.

Coal mines are required to have water quality permits called National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for stormwater and/or wastewater discharges; An NPDES permit does not determine whether mining can occur. We issue and oversee compliance with NPDES permits in Washington. PCCC submitted a permit renewal application in January, 2018.
Our permit sets specific requirements for discharges from the mine. The permit sets limits on turbidity (water clarity), phosphorous, some metals, and pH (acid/alkaline levels). The NPDES permit only authorizes the water generated from rainfall runoff from the mine and water needed to clean truck tires. Rainfall on areas being mined, that have been mined, or where soil is stockpiled, can carry pollutants off the site into nearby streams, wetlands, Ginder Lake, and Lake Sawyer.   

Surface mining can cause water pollution during mining, inactive periods, and reclamation. Federal and state mining laws require land reclamation on parts of a site where mining has ceased. We have required PCCC to operate under a water quality permit since it opened, after the company ceased mining, and will continue that requirement throughout the reclamation process.

Next steps:
We are developing a draft permit renewal. We will make it available in draft form for public review and comment, and will consider all public comments before issuing a final permit.

If you would like us to notify you directly about the comment period on the draft permit, please email or write to:

Tricia Miller, Permit Coordinator        
Washington State Department of Ecology
Northwest Regional Office
3190 - 160th Avenue SE
Bellevue, WA  98008-5452
nwropccc@ecy.wa.gov