Sand is a very important component of our industrialized society. There are many industries which in some way or another rely on sand to manufacturer their product. In turn these products are used extensively in our daily life which includes such things as cars, homes and computers. In order to obtain sand it must be extracted from the earth. The mining of sand is extensively regulated in order to protect our water and air. In Wisconsin all new industrial sand mines require permits to be in place prior to construction; the following is a short list of permits required:
- Air Construction & Operation
- Storm Water/Wastewater
- High Capacity Well
The air permit will apply federally enforceable conditions and limitations on the mine for both fugitive and stacked emissions. The permit will be structured as to not allow these emissions to exceed national ambient air quality standards. This will be done through fugitive dust management and control technology for stacked sources.
The storm water/wastewater permit will cover both the construction and operational phases of the mine with the aim to prevent sedimentation and other contaminants from entering waterways. The minimum goal of most mines will be able to control storm water runoff from a 10 year storm event. In addition to storm water, any process water from sand washing activities will need to be treated to meet discharge limits set-forth in the permit.
If there are washing activities, the mine will need to obtain a high capacity well permit. The potential drawdown from the well will be modeled to determine if there will be significant impacts to other high capacity water supply systems. If there are impacts, operational limits may be placed upon the use of the well. Water use costs money such conservation is always the answer.
All mine’s are required to develop and implement reclamation plans which provides a plan on how to restore the land after mining activities have ceased. The plan will also describe how the mine will operate and provide anticipated costs for the reclamation. Based on those costs, the mine operator will have to post bond or letters of credit to the regulatory authority to ensure that if financial hardship ever occurs, there will be funds available to complete the reclamation process.
Other potential areas of regulation which are dependent on chemicals and products stored onsite include:
- Department of Homeland Security – Compliance Chemical Anti-terrorism Standards
- EPCRA 311 & 312
- Oil Pollution Act – Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures Plan
- Registration of Petroleum Containing Tanks