The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is holding a public information meeting Thursday, Aug. 2 on the frac sand mining proposals near Shakopee.
The meeting will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Scott County Conference Center, 205 Fourth Ave. W., in Shakopee. The meeting will start with an open house for informal discussion, followed by a formal presentation at 7:15 p.m., with time for questions and answers.
Great Plains Sands proposes to operate a mining facility to produce hydraulic fracturing sand, commonly called “frac sand” or “silica sand,” for use in the natural gas and oil industry. The facility would be located in Louisville and Sand Creek townships, along Highway 169.
The company would mine about 100 acres, use an additional 28 acres for processing and railcar loading, and leave 12 acres as setbacks and buffer areas. The site is zoned for rural industrial use and previous land uses include mining, hog farming, auto salvaging, and concrete mixing.
Scott County recently approved an interim-use permit for the proposed Great Plains Sands facility. The MPCA is the government unit responsible for the air emissions permit. The draft permit will be available for review and comment on the MPCA Public Notices webpage.
The public comment period will run July 27 to Aug. 27, 2012. Comments must be received in writing at the MPCA by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 27. Comments, requests and petitions regarding the draft air emissions permit should be addressed to Steven Gorg of the MPCA at 651-757-2396 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Respirable silica dust can cause lung diseases. The State of Minnesota does not regulate respirable silica dust, but it does regulate particulate matter, which includes dust, dirt, soot, smoke and other particles in the air. According to an environmental assessment worksheet prepared for Scott County, Great Plains Sands has agreed to monitor ambient air for total particulate matter and certain size particulates. The company has also agreed to several techniques to decrease the movement of silica dust off the site. These techniques include building berms between adjacent residential areas and the site; limiting the size and height of stockpiles; keeping fine sands wet; and wetting stockpiles if necessary.
Great Plains Sands proposes mining above and below the water table. Site operations would include stockpiling, drying and shipping sand products. Much of the processing will take place inside buildings. Some operations will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday while other operations will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Great Plains Sands expects to mine the area for 15 to 20 years, with reclamation following. Reclamation would consist of preparing the site for industrial development as the land is currently zoned for that use.
For more information on the MPCA’s response to frac sand mining concerns, visit the MPCA Frac Sand Mining webpage.