Proposed changes to mining permit concerns Clark County residents

March 14, 2017
Daniel Pensworth looks out of the field located behind his house near where Enon Sand and Gravel wants to dig deeper in its limestone mine. Bill Lackey/Staff

Proposed changes to an industrial minerals mining permit has some Mad River Twp. residents and school officials concerned, including about how it might affect their drinking water.

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

“In this case, they actually want to go a little bit deeper in their mine,” said Eric Heis, spokesman for the state agency.

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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, Greenon High School and several businesses.

That section of Clark County doesn’t have a public water system. It relies on private wells and that concerns the Clark County Combined Health District because of the “several water wells that have tested positive for e-coli bacteria” in the past, according to a letter from the district.

“We don’t know how it will affect private wells in the area,” said Larry Shaffer, the district’s director of environmental health.

Deeper mining could lessen the “quantity and quality of the drinking water supply,” Shaffer said, and the health district doesn’t support the application at this time.

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Multiple calls to Enon Sand from the Springfield News-Sun seeking comment weren’t returned.

People filled the Mad River Twp. Fire Department’s conference room last week to voice their worries and concerns about the application.

The township will hold another special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, at the Greenon High School cafeteria.

Kristy Thome decided to come to last week’s meeting after a letter was delivered to her door step. It said, “You will want to attend this meeting at the matter of our township on Monday, this will affect you.”

She lives in the Echo Hills Subdivision, which is near the proposed sites for mining.

Daniel Pensworth also lives in subdivision and his parents attended the township meeting.

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“I know my parents are against it just mainly because of the water situation … They could make it more complicated for us to get fresh water than what we do have right now,” Pensworth said.

Mad River Twp. Trustee President Kathy Estep has been on the phone fielding calls about the permit modification since last week’s meeting.

“(Residents) are worried about their property value, water, blasting, air and noise pollution,” Estep said.

Thome is concerned about all those issues, as well as about how it will affect her son.

“I also have a special needs child so I am kind of concerned because he has a lower immune system,” she said.

Thome has made some modifications to her well, but she’s concerned the effects of the nearby mining might hit him sooner than most.

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The site backs up to the property line of Greenon High School according to Dennis Henry, president of the Greenon Local School Board.

The district has concerns about how the deeper mining could affect the high school, Henry said, but it’s still early and a lot of questions haven’t been answered.

Pensworth agreed, saying he’s not scared of the permit approval but is concerned.

“I kind of see it as there’s a lot of ‘if’ statements that could complicate things,” he said.

The state hasn’t set timetable for the approval or denial of the permit, Heis said.