Enon limestone mining proposal opponents worried about water pollution

  • Parker Perry
  • Staff Writer
4:00 p.m Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 Politics
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

More than 200 residents who packed Greenon Junior/Senior High School cafeteria Thursday night, many of them in opposition to a permit that would allow a company to discharge water from a proposed limestone mining operation.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency held a public meeting to hear from neighbors about Enon Sand and Gravel’s permit request.

Mad River Twp. Trustee Kathy Estep spoke on behalf of the local trustees — and many in attendance — and said the township doesn’t approve of the additional mining.

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“If approved, this will diminish and harm our water resources,” Estep said. “We ask (this permit) be denied.”

Enon Sand and Gravel applied to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resources Management in November 2016 to mine limestone at 4100 Fairfield Pike and to merge two existing permits into one. ODNR approved that permit last year.

Now the proposal is before the Ohio EPA to allow the company to discharge wastewater from the site that would eventually run into the Mad River.

Before water goes into the river, Enon Sand and Gravel President Dennis Garrison said, the water would be collected and treated.

“If approved, the ground and stormwater would be directed to a settling pond on the property where any fine matter is allowed to drop out of suspension,” he said in an email.

The mining would also be regulated by multiple government agencies, Garrison said.

The Ohio EPA decided to hold the hearing on Thursday because many people have voiced interest, agency spokeswoman Dina Pierce said.

“What we have right now is just an application for the permit and this is the very first stages,” she said. “We wanted to hold a meeting, tell people what is in the application and listen to people, hear their concerns.”

The next step involves the Ohio EPA examining the application and determining if it can write a draft permit, Pierce said. She said the EPA must follow Ohio laws when making the decision and if it decides the permit should move forward, another public hearing will take place to hear feedback on the draft permit.

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“Public comment and public participation is an important part of what we do,” she said. “It is important to us to hear what people have to say.”

No timetable is set for the process, Pierce said.

Many residents spoke against the permit application Thursday night. They listed several concerns, including the effects on wells on private property, flooding, wildlife, sound and dust.

“This permit would give a company permission to pollute the water and Mad River doesn’t need any more pollution,” resident Kyle Peterson said.

State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, also spoke against the permit.

“We have the people in this room who have combined invested millions of dollars into their homes and their property,” Koehler said.

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If the permit is approved, he said the residents of the future will have to deal with major problems.

“I have not had one constituent come and tell me they want this quarry,” Koehler said. “I have had hundreds and hundreds come and tell me they do not want this quarry.”

Other officials who spoke Thursday night were Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes and Enon Mayor Tim Howard. They both said they are against the permit.