Nutrien (PCS Phosphate mine) 5-year permit renewal 2018-03-16

Hamilton County citizen and WWALS member Chris Mericle sent this Friday, with permission to post.


Hey John,

I just wanted to relate to you the status of the 5 year mining permit renewal for Nutrien (formerly PCS).

I was in a long teleconference yesterday afternoon where we were trying to negotiate for several modifications to the mining permit.

Figure 4. Location of existing and proposed Phosphogypsum Stack Systems (PGSS), Map
Figure 4. Location of existing and proposed Phosphogypsum Stack Systems (PGSS), in FINAL REPORT: Review of PCS Phosphate — White Springs; Activities and Operations Related to Five-Year Renewal of Special Permit 03-1. Review Period: January 2013 through December 2017 Prepared tor: Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners. February 23, 2018. Prepared by: Lampl-Herbert

In attendance:
Randy Ogburn, Hamilton County Commissioner
Cliff Adams, Hamilton County Attorney
Louie Goodin, Hamilton County Coordinator
Scott Shirley, Environmental Attorney for Hamilton County
Greg Hitz, Environmental Consultant for Hamilton County
Mike Williams, PR Manager for Nutrien
Cammeron Lynch, Nutrien Mining Manager
Don Dahlgren, Nutrien Reclamation Manager
David Stiles, Nutrien water resources Manager
Greg ? , Attorney for Nutrien

What we (Hamilton County side) were asking for amounted to greater transparency and public access.

This is what the county asked for (the strike throughs and red are Nutrien’s response):

C. The following condition is added to Special Permit 03-1 requiring that PCS present information regarding the following issues to the Hamilton County Phosphate Mining Technical Working Group, and include an update concerning such issues in the Annual Report to Hamilton County for calendar year 2019:

Issue #1 — Disposition of Phosphogypsum Stacks during Closure and Post-closure
Present to the Technical Working Group an update on the current and future status of the phosphogypsum stacks at the Suwannee River and Swift Creek Chemical Complexes; to include closure and post-closure plans, stack profiles, cross-sections, and/or 3D models.

Issue #2 – Status of Surface Water Quality Studies
Present to the Technical Working Group a status of water quality. the status of nutrient levels in surface water bodies (i.e. nitrogen, phosphate). Local landowners shall be invited to participate in such Technical Working Group meeting. Provide one-time training to designated County Staff on FDEP Oculus web site.

D. The following condition is also added to Special Permit 03-1 requiring that the following changes be made to the format of the Annual Progress Report:

  1. In addition to hard copies, all maps submitted as part of the Annual Progress Report shall be provided in electronic format so as to present the information depicted thereon in a greater level of detail.
  2. All tables reporting water quality test results shall include legibly stated compliance values for each pollutant reported so as to allow any person reviewing the table to determine whether the test complied with the applicable water quality standard. (FDEP Oculus web site training meets this condition.)
  3. All tables within the Hamilton County Annual Report will contain footnotes to denote flow conditions where applicable. reporting water quality test results shall include and explanation as to why any data appears to be missing from the table.

The last sentence of the first paragraph- Nutrien had a problem with supplying information to the county that is not required. Their thought was if they started supplying information that was regulated by another agency possibly Hamilton County would want to regulate it as well.

They basically agreed to supply the information just not in the annual report.

Issue 1- Nutrien agreed to supply the county with copies of the final design of the CTC gyp stack.

Issue 2- Nutrien agreed to train a small group of county staff to navigate the DEP Oculus website to download the water quality information. They also agreed to send a paper report with the water quality information to the county monthly if the county found the Oculus site too cumbersome.

Under section D

  1. Nutrien agreed to include PDFs of maps made in Auto Cad.
  2. This paragraph was stricken because it was redundant.
  3. We were okay with Nutrien’s changes

One other issue came up. Commissioner Ogburn suggested doing away with the Technical Working Group. He suggested a quarterly workshop at regularly scheduled BOCC meetings(this will have to be voted on by the BOCC).

He has been the only commissioner dealing with the mine for years. He is the only commissioner who knows the history of the mine! The Technical Working Group meetings are public but they are not public noticed, there are no minutes taken and there is no agenda.

So, moving the meeting to the BOCC meetings will go a long way toward greater transparency and public awareness.

This was a 2 hour meeting, with a lot of back and forth, that started out in a stalemate.

I feel that we came out on top of this negotiation. Hopefully going forward we will have a greater amount of information and understanding about what is going on at the Nutrien mine.


See also Pictures: PCS Phosphate mine permit Public Hearings, Jasper, FL 2018-01-23. The Hamilton Board of County Commissioners will vote on this permit 9AM Monday April 2, 2018.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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