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 OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Harry Seraydarian, regional director of the Water Management Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will meet with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) board of directors at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, in Oakland.
 They will discuss EPA's decision to order the water district to clean up an old mine site in the Sierra foothills at a cost of as much as $50 million to East Bay ratepayers.
 The meeting will be in the EBMUD Board Room at 375 11th St. in Oakland and will be open to the public. EBMUD's board of directors and staff will be available to answer media questions following Seraydarian's comments.
 The abandoned Penn Mine, in Calaveras County near the town of Campo Seco, is the source of mining wastes that wash onto EBMUD property, and sometimes during intense rainstorms overflow into the water district's Camanche Reservoir and the Mokelumne River.
 A month ago, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued an order placing responsibility for the Penn Mine cleanup solely on EBMUD, even though the utility district does not now and never has owned the mine site. The water district questions EPA's authority to make such an arbitrary ruling.
 EBMUD responded by filing suit in Washington, D.C., against the U.S. Department of Commerce to recover all costs of cleaning up the mine, which was operated by the federal government in the 1940s to produce war materials.
 Over the past 15 years, EBMUD has been assisting the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Game in minimizing mine waste discharges, even though EBMUD maintains it is not responsible for the mine.
 In 1978, EBMUD built a barrier called Mine Run Dam to help stop flows from the abandoned mine into Camanche Reservoir. The dam was built as a cooperative effort between EBMUD, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Game. Although Camanche Reservoir is not part of the water supply for EBMUD's 1.2 million East Bay customers, it helps the water district regulate the Mokelumne River for meeting downstream flow requirements and providing flood control protection.
 Since 1977, EBMUD and the Regional Water Quality Control Board have accelerated cooperative efforts to mitigate the impacts of acid mine drainage. EBMUD and the State of California have spent more than $4 million on the problem, and the water district has enlisted the aid of California members of Congress in seeking federal aid.
 The district spent more than $500,000 to treat water from the mine site during the past winter and will continue to cooperate with state and federal agencies in mitigating impacts and developing a remediation plan.
 Although years ago the California Attorney General's office and EBMUD obtained a judgment finding New Penn Mine Inc. responsible for the cleanup, the company apparently is defunct and the property is abandoned.
 -0- 9/8/93
 /CONTACT: Gayle Montgomery of EBMUD, 510-287-0141, or home, 510-689-2327

CO: East Bay Municipal Utility District; U.S. Environmental Protection
 Agency ST: California IN: ENV SU:

TM-LH -- SF012 -- 9934 09/08/93 15:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 8, 1993

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