The Department of Environmental Quality recently issued letters of deficiency to a couple of landowners in the Victor area who have applied for permits to mine gravel in the vicinity of Big Creek. The letters of deficiency, dated April 25, 2019, read pretty much the same for both Todd Townsend and Wade Moudy, citing the need for additional information including additional well data, a dewatering analysis, wash plant settling pond guidelines, a monitoring installation plan, a ground water monitoring plan and a slope stability analysis, among other things.
Moudy proposes to bond 13.5 acres of land for his pit, Townsend plans to bond 13.9 acres. The permits cover more land that will be used for storage during the process and the pits will be reclaimed as ponds.
DEQ held a public hearing on the permit applications in December 2017. Public comments received at and following the meeting indicated that substantial issues were not adequately satisfied by the proposed Plans of Operation and, as a result, DEQ subjected the application to extended review. As a result of that review the agency disapproved the application and provided the applicants a detailed list of the deficiencies that need to be addressed to avoid denial of the applications.
One complicating factor in the proposals is the proximity of both permits to Big Creek. As a result, the Department is requiring Townsend to submit a comprehensive “Water Resources Assessment and Protection Plan” for the purpose of characterizing water resources at and near the site, the anticipated influence the proposal would have on these resources, and describing in detail how water resources would be protected and water levels monitored.” They are requiring much the same information and monitoring plans from Moudy.
DEQ found, for instance, that the analysis in the applications as presented showed indications of perched water ground water in the area.
“Based on this information, it appears that there are more complexities to the aquifer than that of a simple unconfined aquifer. This could significantly alter the interpretation of the cross section as well as the aquifer test,” wrote DEQ. The agency asks the applicants to provide “a detailed hydrologic assessment that fully addresses the requirements outlined in the above deficiency.”
The applicants can either submit revised application material that resolves all the deficiencies in which case the permit will be approved, or they can submit material that does not resolve all the deficiencies and another deficiency letter will be issued. If the applicants fail to respond after a year, they will receive notice that the application has been abandoned and will be voided in 30 days of notification. That decision is also subject to appeal to the Board of Environmental Review.
Both the applicants, Moudy and Townsend, declined to comment on the deficiency letter or discuss their intentions.