Denver Water fights Climax Mine push to allow more pollution
The relaxed limits would apply to streams statewide including headwaters of the Colorado River above Dillon Reservoir
Denver Water is fighting a push by a global mining giant to increase by 43 times Colorado’s limit for molybdenum pollution of streams, including headwaters of the Colorado River above Denver’s drinking-water reservoir.
Freeport-McMoRan subsidiary Climax Molybdenum has asked the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to relax the water quality limit for molybdenum in streams used for domestic water statewide to 9,000 parts per million from 210 ppm. It also wants the limits for waterways tapped for agricultural irrigation raised to 1,000 ppm from 160 ppm.
The change could cut water-treatment costs at the company’s open-pit Climax Mine above Leadville, where the company produced about 16 million pounds of molybdenum in 2016, down from 23 million pounds in 2015.
Climax has submitted studies the company helped fund using rats to justify raising state limits.
But Denver Water says the research isn’t sound.
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