Hundreds of Enon and Mad River Twp. residents are concerned about how a mining permit modification could affect their water, property values and quality of life.
Mining company leaders say they understand the neighbors’ concerns and follow all state regulations.
Enon Sand and Gravel applied in November 2016 to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Mineral Resources Management to merge two existing permits. It also applied to mine limestone as well.
The township trustees became aware of the modification request at the beginning of March. More than 200 residents packed a meeting at Greenon High School on Monday night to voice their concerns about the proposal. They brought up worries about property values, drinking water, insurance, noise and air pollution.
ODNR had a team on hand to give information about the permit process, dewatering, blasting and possible impact of the proposal.
The company wants to dig about 60 feet deeper on a 400-acre property near a few businesses, about 200 homes and a high school.
Jurgensen Aggregates, the parent company of Enon Sand and Gravel, wants to be as transparent as possible and understands the concerns of neighbors, President Dennis Garrison said. The site has been mined before and the company wants to see what else it can do with the property that has been permitted for mining for decades.
If the permit changes are denied, Garrison said Jeurgensen still intends to mine the property under its current permit.
The business owns 16 other sites in Ohio, Garrison said, and complies with all state regulations. The company has only had two complaints about well water issues at any of its sites in the past year, he said.
Mad River Twp. doesn’t have a public drinking water system and residents rely on wells. That’s a concern of many who live near the proposed quarry and the Clark County Combined Health District.
The quality and quantity of drinking water could be impacted if the permits are approved, the health district said.
That’s a concern of Susen Wright and her family. They moved to their home off South Tecumseh Road about three years ago.
READ MORE: Special report: Healthy Springfield
They have cats, dogs, chickens and two horses. One of the horses has asthma.
“When they harvest, we take extra precautions because that’s something that reduces the air quality,” Wright said.
But that happens once a year, she said, while a new quarry could affect the air more frequently.
Jurgensen complies with air quality rules, Garrison said, and will hire a contractor to monitor it.
In terms of noise, he said the business will build a berm around the site to block it.
Wright and others at the meeting said they moved to the area to retire and this proposal threatens that life.
“I have planned in the future to buy my home from my parents … but after hearing this, if this goes through, I definitely won’t,” Grennon High School Junior Mariah Gossett said.
Greenon Local School District also is against the mining proposal, saying their concerned for their students and safety.
Mad River Twp. President Kathy Estep said a lot of information was given but questions weren’t really answered.
“I didn’t learn anything last night that would cause me to change my mind,” she said.
One resident asked will the profits earned be used to help the community it is affecting. Garrison said the business hopes to make a profit.
Residents have until April 21 to submit public comments on the proposal to the ODNR. No timeline has been set for deciding on the permit modification.
5 MUST READ STORIES