The Okanogan County Planning Department issued a stop-work order on a clean-up effort at the Alder Mill site near Twisp, after the Department of Ecology received complaints from neighboring citizens.
The county investigated the property, which is owned by NH & L Rare Earth LLC, and found it to be near wetlands, prompting the call to cease work.
NH& L had not received or applied for any permits for the project to clean up the historic site to develop homes.
Okanogan County Director of Planning and Community Development, Perry Huston, says at this point, the county does not have a solid proposal in terms of what the company intends to do at the site.
The Alder mill Site, outside Twisp, is an abandoned ore-concentrating mill for gold and copper. Two storage ponds covering about 10 acres were used between 1949 and 1952 to store wastewater and silt from the mine. In 2001 studies were conducted by the Washington State Department of Ecology as well as the Environmental Protection Agency that found surface soil at the mill site and mill ponds contained high levels of arsenic. The property was added and has remained on Ecology’s hazardous Sites list.
Huston says NH& L is not under any deadline to apply for the permits, but they cannot disturb the site any further until the process is complete."CLICK HERE" for Audio