Presentation discusses evolution of water quality at Humboldt pit

MARQUETTE —¬†Mining has impacted the Upper Peninsula for a long time, but the impacts of the industry can be worrisome to the environment.

At a presentation at Northern Michigan University today, Dr. Devin Castendyk discussed the evolution of water quality in the 350-foot deep Humboldt pit. Eagle Mine is trying to prevent flood water from contaminating surrounding water sources after the mine shuts its doors around 2024.

The Humboldt Tailings Disposal Facility is already working to improve the water’s quality and will continue to do so after the closure.

“They’ll continue to operate some water treatment for a brief period of time, say less than a decade. At that point, the water will be clean enough in that facility to be clean enough without treatment,” said Castendyk.

Castendyk said Lundin Mining hopes the water in the open pit mine will eventually flow to wetland adjacent to the mine and ultimately flow into the Escanaba River. This will create what is called an integrated watershed, where the area could be used for other purposes.

The event was hosted by Eagle Mine and the Chemistry Department at NMU.