Hawk Inlet TMDL Public Meeting Tomorrow!

Over the past year, Friends of Admiralty Island has led the effort to take a close look at the sediments, shellfish, fish, and wildlife in Hawk Inlet, where Greens Creek Mine has its waste tailings pile and ore-loading facilities. As you may recall, the results have been disturbing (more on that below.)

Tomorrow there is an important opportunity to speak up for Hawk Inlet, and for clean water and aquatic life! SEACC is encouraging our supporters to please attend or call in to get your testimony on record.

When: Tuesday, October 25th, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Where: DEC Conference Room (410 Willoughby, Second Floor Conference Room)

What: Public Hearing on DEC's plan for Hawk Inlet

For those who cannot attend in person, please consider joining the teleconference.

  • For audio connection, call 1-800-315-6338, and add the access code of 55257 at the prompt.
  • For visual connection, Skype for Business will be available. Please provide your email contact to gretchen.pikul@alaska.gov at least one day prior to the meeting so that they can connect you.

Some background on Hawk Inlet:

In 2010, SEACC nominated Hawk Inlet as an impaired waterbody, an important first step in cleaning up Greens Creek's 1989 ore spill.

Under the Clean Water Act, the next step was for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to propose a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan outlining how DEC and the mine will repair the health of the Inlet waters.

The draft plan is currently out for public review. In addition to the public hearing on Tuesday, the agency is accepting written comments through November 14th. 

Written comments can be sent to gretchen.pikul@alaska.gov or mailed to:

Division of Water, Attention: Gretchen Pikul
410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 303, P.O. Box 111800
Juneau, AK 99811-1795

SEACC is concerned that the Draft Hawk Inlet TMDL does not take a close-enough look at all the areas that may be contaminated, nor at possible causes.

Specifically, the draft plan fails to:

  • Seriously consider important new data provided by scientists funded through the Friends of Admiralty Island, about the health of Hawk Inlet, including the fish and shellfish used for food;
  • Fully consider outflow at Greens Creek's discharge pipe in the Inlet, or run-off from the tailings pile as sources of possible contamination;
  • Take a hard look at other areas of the Inlet that may be contaminated - for example, the lines delimiting contaminated areas were drawn arbitrarily;  
  • Provide supporting data to show that prop wash from tug boats is not stirring up contaminants from the 1989 ore spill;
  • Give any time frame for recovery or require clean-up.

As an outcome of the underwhelming plan, Greens Creek does not have to take any responsibility for the ore spill, or for the impact that current mine operations could be having on the health of Hawk Inlet and the people who use the area for food security.

Thank you in advance for calling or attending the hearing to show your support for healthy water!

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