Ohio EPA to discuss controversial Mad River Twp. mine plan

Feb 01, 2018
The Ohio EPA will hold a meeting to discuss plans for Enon Sand and Gravel to expand its mining operations in Mad River Twp. Bill Lackey/Staff

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting to hear from concerned homeowners about a mining company’s permit request.

Enon Sand and Gravel applied to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resources Management in November 2016 to mine limestone and to merge two existing permits into one.

Last year, more than 200 residents packed a meeting at Greenon High School on March 27 to voice their concerns about how the operation could affect their property values, well water, safety, noise and other issues.

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The business wants to mine about 60 feet deeper on parts of its nearly 400-acre property near Hustead and South Tecumseh roads and Rebert Pike near a waterway, according to a letter from the mineral resources division.

The property is near more than 200 homes, a high school and several businesses.

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.

The company has filed a waste water permit with the Ohio EPA, according to EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce.

“This application is specifically for the discharge of water from the quarry. Just groundwater from the quarry, dewatering from the quarry, storm water and some water from gravel washing operations,” Pierce said.

Pierce described a three-step process for approval that includes the receipt of the application, review to see if it meets all of the requirements and then issuing a draft permit. It could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before it is approved or denied.

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One of the residents who has objected is homeowner Kyle Peterson. He and others in the community have formed a group called Citizens Against Mining. The group has been vocal about the proposed mine.

“Past mining operations have shown to degrade water quality, both surface and groundwater quality, including the aquifers that deliver clean drinking water to the surrounding homes and schools,” Peterson said.

The group hopes the permit is denied, he said, adding the permit does not stop pollution, it just regulates.

Mad River Twp. trustees also are against the permit.

“We are concerned with pollutants which we believe are inevitable to occur with a mining operation with blasting involved,” Mad River Twp. Trustee Kathy Estep said.

They are also concerned about flooding of Mud Run Creek. It already floods a couple of times a year, Estep said, adding the waste water could cause additional flooding.

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Dennis Garrison, president of Jurgensen Aggregates, the parent company of Enon Sand and Gravel, said discharge is regulated by the state agency.

“The ground and storm water would be directed to a settling pond on the property, where any fine matter is allowed to drop out of suspension,” he said.

Several state agencies — OEPA, ODNR and Mine Safety Health Administration — ensure that “a limestone quarry will not pose a discernable threat,” Garrison said.

The public meeting will be held today Thursday, Feb. 1, at Greenon High School at 6 p.m.

Those who would like to make a comment at the meeting are asked to come before the meeting starts and fill out an information card.