Average annual water required for mine operations has been estimated at275 gpm, or between 20-810 gpm for this report. lf we were to accept these numbers, then uses could vary from as little as 10,512,000 gallons of water per year or as much as 425,736,000 gallons per year. Greater than 90% of this water would be captured and treated using reverse osmosis, a process that poses risks as outlined in 2006 by the World Health Organization’s report in Geneva, Nutrients in Drinking Water, Chapter 12.
According to studies done since the 1960’s when reverse osmosis filtration began, demineralized water has proved dangerous in many ways. lt will aggressively attack contacted materials by dissolving metals and some organic substances in pipes, storage tanks, hose lines and fittings. Because of this, it poses an increased risk of filtering toxic metals into the groundwater, wetlands and streams at the source and particularly downstream. Time would be an important factor in determining the extent of damage to various plants and animals in the watersheds.
Without the protective or antitoxic protection of calcium and magnesium additional, increased risk of cardiovascular disease occurs in humans from drinking water treated by RO, and reserve minerals in the body are often depleted. This in time results in other adverse effects on animal and human organisms.
Filters and membranes are subject to bacterial growths and would present their own problems. Significant factors are: toxins from the filters or membranes would be highly concentrated, and the problem of disposal would remain. Has the SDEIS calculated the very real danger of RO processed waters on plant and animal organisms as well as the disposal of these concentrated toxins?