Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Greenfield Should Pass a Mining Ordinance

Unimin may have an agreement with the town of Greenfield but the township still needs protection from other sand mine companies. Here's town attorney Rick Radcliffe recommending that the town pass an ordinance that could give it protection from future sand mines that could move into the township.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tunnel City Sand Mine Update

Tuesday, Oct. 11 -- Steve Groening, special projects manager for the 500-plus-acre sand mine that Unimin Corporation is building in Tunnel City, said at last night's regularly monthly town of Greenfield meeting that the mine should be producing sand by the end of 2013.

Groening, who is the on-the-ground guy for the Tunnel City sand mine
, gave an update about what Unimin is doing.

- Currently geological drilling is under way with an extensive team of geologists and drill teams drilling definition holes.
- The DNR has issued permits to construct roads through wood lots for the drill pads.  Red stakes indicate drill pads.
- Initial preparation for the building site is under way--150 acres are being cleared. Unimin said earlier this summer that it would mine in 150-acre sections.
- Next: stripping timber and top soil. Unimin will mix timber chips with top soil to create mulch to be stored in stock piles.
- Unimin will re-vegetate as it works, creating  undulating mounds and covering them with the mulch mixture.
- Unimin will make an effort to conceal the plant from Hwy. 21.
- There will be heavy traffic. Groening said that there will be an impact and residents should not hesitate to contact the Township or Unimin with any concerns.
- Negotiations regarding the road to Hwy. 21 continue, involving Wisconsin's DOT, both railroads.
- There will be a bridge "over the top of the tracks" leading to the plant.   Construction of that "bridge" will begin late this fall.  Until then traffic will go through Tunnel City.
- The cleanup effort at Flamingo and Flag was begun.   Any man-made debris has been hauled away--septic tanks, etc.  There will be a big difference by the end of October.
- Groening said that town chair Steve Witt, Unimin and the Department of Natural Resources will decide upon the location of the new recycling center that it is building for the town as part of a development agreement between the town and Unimin. Some wetland issues remain to be resolved.
- Unimin did not plan to purchase the 5.61 acres on which the former dump was located 20 years ago because the site was never cleared by the DNR when it was closed, but Unimin has now agreed to purchase it and to cover it with sand.  
One member of the audience asked if the town would be liable if the site were found to be contaminated but the board's response was that nothing has surfaced in 20 years and Unimin intends to cover it with sand, there should be no problems.
- Unimin will cover the $1,555 worth of expenses caused by special meetings throughout the summer although this was not part of its agreement with the town.
- No report from the subcommittee working on a ordinance to govern future sand mines moving into the area. Witt said that town attorney Rick Radcliffe is working on this with the state's Town Board Association, but work is going slowly.
- A special meeting will be held Nov. 21 to approve the resolution vacating Flagg and Flamingo Avenues--the township is turning these roads over to Unimin as part of the development agreement.

- One member of the audience proposed hiring a new town assessor. Town board member Gary Shutter said he, too, had some issues with the assessor.

Coming soon: video of last night's meeting and Rick Radcliffe's speech encouraging the town to pass a sand mining ordinance to govern future sand mines.