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EPA Concerned about Monsanto Pollution Control Dam

June 17, 2010
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According to the Associated Press, federal regulators are concerned that a dam built by Monsanto Co. earlier this year to trap phosphate mine runoff may be stopping more than just pollution. They say the Idaho dam has also halted millions of gallons of water in Sheep Creek that would otherwise help fill the Blackfoot River. The Environmental Protection Agency now wants the company to begin a costly treatment to remove selenium and heavy metals, and then discharge clean water downstream, instead of capturing it in a 50-million-gallon lake behind the dam and using it for dust control on its mining roads. In 2007, the EPA warned Monsanto that selenium- and heavy metal-tainted water being flushed from the waste rock dump below the South Rasmussen Ridge Mine into Sheep Creek violated the federal Clean Water Act. Most animals including humans need traces of selenium, but the element is toxic in large amounts. Monsanto got a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit in early April to erect a roughly 20-foot dam below the dump. It also has rights to the water it has trapped behind the dam.
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