Mining Corporation Ordered to Pay Over $5 Million in Arsenic Leak

YAVAPAI COUNTY– Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) announced a Maricopa County Judge ordered the owner of Hillside Mine to pay $2,375,211.74 in restitution for ADEQ’s assessment and remediation of environmental damage to Boulder Creek in Yavapai County.

First investigated in 2013, ADEQ discovered that Hillside Mine in Yavapai County was the source of ongoing illegal discharge of arsenic-contaminated water into adjacent Boulder Creek at a rate of 5 gallons per minute or about 2.6 million gallons per year.

The owner of Hillside Mine signed three compliance by consent orders with ADEQ between 2014 and 2015 to come up with a plan to stop the discharge and to apply for the appropriate environmental permits. However, no plan was ever submitted and the mine continued the unpermitted discharge into Boulder Creek. The case was then submitted for prosecution and the company was indicted in August of 2017.

“As someone who grew up here in Arizona, I take protecting our natural resources very seriously,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “This company knowingly dumped toxins into our water, out of complete disregard to the law. By working together with ADEQ, we were able to stop the contamination and also hold Hillside Mine accountable.”

“To support ADEQ’s mission of protecting and enhancing public health and the environment, ADEQ works in good faith with the regulated community to maintain compliance and work cooperatively to resolve issues,” said Director Misael Cabrera. “ADEQ believes this cooperative approach is best to achieve efficient and swift resolution. However, when a facility consistently fails to cooperate, as was the case for Hillside Mine, ADEQ will engage in formal enforcement with the Attorney General’s Office to ensure public health and the environment are protected and that facilities are held accountable.”

In 2018, the owner of Hillside Mine was convicted at trial of three felony violations of the Arizona Pollution Discharge Elimination System and ordered to pay fines and surcharges totaling $2,745,000. The latest restitution order brings the total financial sanctions against the company to over $5,000,000.

Assistant Attorney General Jordyn Raimondo prosecuted this case.