Weiner & Cording Win Case Assessing Gold Mining Company $500K for Discharging Pollutants From Settling Ponds

The Federal District Court in Colorado found High Mountain [gold] Mining in violation of the Clean Water Act for polluting the S. Platte River from its settling ponds without a permit and imposed a $500,000 fine.  This was the first reported, post-trial judgment applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s Maui factors to impose liability for discharges through groundwater that are the functional equivalent of direct discharges to surface waters. 

The Denver Post lauded the decision as “a ruling that tilts the nation’s legal landscape in favor of controlling water pollution.” Denver Post, 10/23/22.  It is a landmark win not only for the Town of Fairplay, Colorado residents that brought the case, but for anyone living near important waterways. 

Weiner and Cording lawyers are hopeful that this victory will push mining and other industrial operators located near important bodies of water to obtain water discharge permits even when their pollution does not flow directly into the waterbody, but arrives there indirectly through groundwater infiltration.

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