Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last Chance to Comment on Unimin's Air Permit For Tunnel City Sand Mine

Tomorrow is the deadline for commenting on Unimin's air permit application for the Tunnel City sand mine. The Department of Natural Resources requires Unimin to get such a permit showing that it will build a facility that meets state and federal standards for air emissions. In Unimin's case, that means that they have to build a mine and processing plant with controls that will limit emissions and the release of particulate matter. There are limits on emissions for particulate matter that is ten microns or less or 2.5 microns or less.

Silica dust, which is invisible, travels long distances and causes silicosis, which is fatal, is not covered by name by any DNR rules. However, it falls into that size range. Unimin already got a waiver allowing it to start building the plant before it got the air permit. The law states that companies have to get such permits before they start building. The DNR hit Unimin with a noncompliance notice Dec. 19 for building without an air pollution control permit. If you've got comments, email them to Michael.Ross@Wisconsin.gov.

The DNR expects to make a decision on the permit by the end of March.

For a copy of the draft for the air permit, click here; for background on the plant and air permit, click here.

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