Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)
Phosphate rock, pp. 677-697 ff. PDF (2.4 MB)
678 MINERALS YEARBOOK; 1978-79 phosphate minerals, the long-range phosphate reserve position, and legislation that may be needed to ensure supply. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an areawide final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the central Florida phosphate industry.2 A task force was assembled in 1978 to draft a supplemental EIS addressing the question of mining phosphate rock in the Osceola National Forest. The supplemental EIS was issued in April 1979. A series of reports were prepared by Zellars-Williams, Inc. (ZWI) under contract to the Bureau of Mines to develop information on phosphate rock reserves and resources. The reports were: (1) Evaluation of the Phosphate Deposits of Florida Using the Minerals Availability System. (2) Evaluation of the Phosphate Deposits of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina Using the Minerals Availability System. (3) Evaluation of the Phosphate Deposits of Tennessee Using the Minerals Availability System. Legislation and Government Programs.—Environmental legislation and regulatory actions are in constant flux. An overview of the status of laws and regulations and their impact on the Florida phosphate industry is intended to show the relationship to the environmental review process: The Federal laws include the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Atomic Energy Act, and other statutory controls such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Section 109 of the Clean Air Act requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue regulations establishing national ambient air quality standards. Criteria for pollutants (sulfur oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, photochemical oxidants, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide) were promulgated by EPA. EPA has also promulgated standards of performance for phosphate fertilizer manufacturing operations. The national goal expressed by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977 (commonly referred to as the "Clean Water Act"), is the elimination of the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985. Phos phate rock beneficiation plants and phosphate fertilizer manufacturing plants may discharge waste water through point sources subject to the regulation of the Clean Water Act. Section 402 establishes the "National Pollutant Discharge~ Elimination System" (NPDES) which .provides for issuance of permits for the discharge of pollutants through point sources to navigable waters. Discharges are subject to various technology-based "effluent limitations and standards" developed by EPA and promulgated as regulations, and are generally incorporated as requirements in NPDES permits. When a new operation starts, new sources of pollution must comply with applicable new source performance standards, which represent the "best~availab1e demonstrated control technology" (BAT) processes, operating methods, or other alternatives, including, where practicable, a standard permitting no discharge of pollutants. Under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, existing sources were to achieve limitations that required the application of the "best practicable control technology currently available" (BPT)~ by July 1, 1977. By July 1, 1983, existing point sources were to apply BAT. The 1977 amendments modified this phased implementation approach. The July 1, 1977 date for BPT compliance has passed. The Clean Water Act does contain certain limited provisions authorizing EPA to grant extensions of time for compliance with BPT requirements. The requirement for achieving BAT were extended 1 year to July 1, 1984. The Clean Water Act now requires that by July 1, 1984, existing sources of certain identified "conventional pollutants" (including total suspended solids and pH) achieve effluent limitations that require the application of the best conventional pollutant control technology (BCT). Existing sources that discharge any of 65 specifically identified toxic pollutants must apply BAT by July 1, 1984. For other toxic pollutants BAT must be applied within 3 years of promulgation of an applicable effluent limitation. Pollutants that are neither toxic nor conventional have been termed nonconventional pollutants. EPA has published regulations establishing technology-based effluent limitations applicable to the phosphate industry. BPT and BAT limitations, and new source performance standards were established for the phosphate subcategory of the fertilizer manufacturing point source category.
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