Permit holders may not operate a gravity or siphon suction dredge with a suction hose larger than 4 inches in Essential Salmon Habitat. Outside Essential Salmon Habitat, they may not operate a gravity or siphon suction dredge with a suction hose larger than 6 inches. In addition to only operating during daylight hours (from sunrise to sunset) suction dredging is allowed only during the in-water work schedule as set by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The 700-PM permit does not allow suction dredge mining outside of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's in-water work period.
Wastewater discharges are not allowed where the visible turbidity plume affects the intake of a drinking water source from any placer mining operation. Measures must be taken to prevent the spreading of invasive species.
Suction dredges must operate at a distance 500 feet upstream from any stream segment listed as water quality limited for sedimentation, turbidity or toxics other than chlorine. The 303(d) list that applies is list that is in effect Jan. 1 of each year.
Suction dredge operations are required to keep records and submit a report to DEQ annually.
Placer mining on tribal lands
The 700-PM Water Quality General Permit does not allow suction dredge mining operations to discharge to surface waters on tribal lands. Oregon does not have jurisdiction to regulate surface water discharges on tribal lands; that authority lies with either the tribe or the EPA.
In addition, the 700-PM general permit does not authorize discharges from mining operations into waterways that border a tribal reservation. Mining in these waters would require an individual discharge permit from DEQ to ensure that tribal water quality standards are protected.
Resource materials for 700-PM Application and General Permit
Applicants should submit an application at least 30 days in advance of the date to start a suction dredging operation.
Follow the links below to find information useful for filling out an application to register under the 700-PM general permit, and for complying with the permit conditions. To register for 700-PM coverage to suction dredge, you must use the Interactive Location Mapping Tool to determine more information about the planned mining location, including:
- (1) County
- (2) Township, Range, and Section
- (3) Latitude and Longitude
- (4) Name of stream/state water
And whether the mining location is within:
- (5) Oregon State Scenic Waterways
- (6) Essential Salmon Habitat
- (7) Outstanding Resource Water
- (8) Tribal lands/boundary waters
- (9) Water quality limited stream segments 303(d) listed for sedimentation, turbidity, or toxics (except chlorine)
- (10) One of twelve wilderness areas with limited discharge
Also for mining site locations, you can provide the mining claim name if you have one. This is not required. The Interactive Location Mapping Tool may not help determine who owns the land. Other sources of information may be needed to determine whether the land is public or private, and, if it is public, what type of public land.
Follow the links below to find useful information to help you fill out an application to register under the 700-PM general permit and comply with permit conditions.
You may also need a general authorization or removal-fill permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands in addition to DEQ's 700-PM permit
In addition to needing a DEQ permit for mining, activities on federal lands must comply with the DEQ permit and with any additional terms or conditions established by a federal agency. Before undertaking mining activities on federal lands in Oregon, miners should contact the appropriate federal district office to see if there are any restrictions or conditions regarding mining activities or access to areas where mining will take place. Requirements may differ from one district to another.