Kleinfelder was asked to use its wealth of experience derived from working in the U. S. to help Peru develop water quality regulations. Peru is the world’s leading producer of silver and second largest producer of copper and zinc, so mining plays an important role in the Peruvian economy.
Naturally, Peruvian mines produce water and wastewater discharges that have a potential to impact the environment. The Peru government, through its Ministry of the Environment (Ministerio del Ambiente, known as MINAM), has responsibility to regulate these discharges. MINAM has successively adopted regulations regarding discharges from mining operations drawing heavily from parallel regulations of other countries such as the U.S. or from international organizations. While such an approach has its merits, not all regulations derived for one country’s setting are applicable in another country’s setting.
Kleinfelder created a forum where expertise from outside the country could be brought in to open a dialogue with MINAM. We delivered a series of seminars to mining professionals and government officials. Topics included the technical basis for maximum permissible levels and environmental quality standards (equivalent to our U.S. effluent limitation guidelines and water quality standards, respectively); a review of regulatory programs used in the U.S; a discussion of best management practices (BMPs) for mine discharges; and finally a proposed regulatory program for Peru.
Kleinfelder developed a five-phase program incorporating concepts of existing effluent quality (EEQ), definition of appropriate BMPs and treatment technology, completion of water quality assessments/TMDLs, and elements for a permitting and continuing monitoring program. The seminars were well attended by a wide variety of government personnel, ranging from permit writers to the Minister of MINAM himself.