DEP’s de­ci­sion to per­mit East­ern In­dus­tries to ex­pand Kutz­town Quarry

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - LOCAL NEWS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, I am writ­ing this let­ter to you in a con­tin­ued ef­fort to keep our lo­cal res­i­dents in­formed re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion at the Kutz­town Quarry. The fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion is based on my un­der­stand­ing and opin­ion of the sit­u­a­tion at this time.

Please be ad­vised that sev­eral staff mem­bers from the DEP District Min­ing Of­fice (Pottsville) held a meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Bor­ough of Kutz­town and Max­atawny Town­ship on June 8, 2017. The mu­nic­i­pal rep­re­sen­ta­tives were in­formed that DEP will be is­su­ing a re­vised per­mit for min­ing op­er­a­tions at the Kutz­town Quarry. This de­ci­sion will al­low East­ern In­dus­tries (New En­ter­prise Stone & Lime) to in­crease its per­mit­ted pump­ing dis­charge of wa­ter from the cur­rent 5,000 gal­lons per minute (7,200,000 gal­lons per day) com­pared to the re­vised per­mit­ted amount of 8,000 gal­lons per minute (11,520,000 gal­lons per day). The re­vised per­mit will also al­low East­ern In­dus­tries to dig an­other 50 feet in depth at the Kutz­town Quarry, with the po­ten­tial for the min­ing com­pany to re­quest per­mis­sion for an ad­di­tional 50 feet in the fu­ture.

I ad­mit that I was very dis­ap­pointed in this de­ci­sion by the DEP. How­ever, I was grat­i­fied that the ef­forts and con­cerns of the lo­cal res­i­dents were, for the most part, taken se­ri­ously by the DEP in the re­view process. For ex­am­ple, the min­ing com­pany’s ini­tial re­quest for a re­vised per­mit al­low­ing for an in­crease to 12,000 gal­lons per minute of wa­ter dis­charge

(17,280,000 gal­lons per day) was not granted. Fur­ther, upon re­view­ing the DEP hand­outs from the meet­ing, i.e., Sur­face Min­ing Per­mit (rev. 5-10-17), Part B , Spe­cial Con­di­tions or Re­quire­ments, and a Part B Ad­den­dum, Self-mon­i­tor­ing Data Re­quire­ments, I found sev­eral items that re­quire ad­di­tional data col­lec­tion, ad­di­tional con­sol­i­da­tion of data, and ad­di­tional re­view steps in or­der to bet­ter mon­i­tor the im­pact of min­ing on our lo­cal wa­ter sup­ply. I think that th­ese items of ad­di­tional data and re­view could pro­vide an im­proved layer of pro­tec­tion for both the pub­lic and pri­vate wa­ter sup­ply of our area res­i­dents.

Specif­i­cally, I was pleased to find the fol­low­ing fea­tures in the DEP Part B ma­te­ri­als:

1. that the min­ing com­pany will con­tinue to be re­quired to mon­i­tor both wa­ter qual­ity and wa­ter quan­tity on a monthly ba­sis and to sub­mit quar­terly reports for re­view.

2. that an ad­di­tional ref­er­ence, the “NESL Kutz­town Quarry, Con­tin­u­ous Mon­i­tor­ing Data Hy­dro­graph”, will be pre­pared as an on­go­ing record of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, quarry pump­ing vol­ume, wa­ter lev­els at the mon­i­tor­ing wells sur­round­ing the quarry, and wa­ter lev­els at the Bor­ough wells.

3. that the “NESL Kutz­town Quarry, Con­tin­u­ous Mon­i­tor­ing Data Hy­dro­graph” will be used to as­sess any neg­a­tive im­pact of the quarry’s pump­ing/de­wa­ter­ing on the Bor­ough’s pub­lic wa­ter sup­ply.

4. that the min­ing com­pany will have to ap­ply to DEP for a new au­tho­riza­tion to mine for each ad­di­tional in­cre­ment of 50 feet in depth at mean sea level. And, that prior to the new au­tho­riza­tion be­ing granted, DEP will re­assess the ground­wa­ter sta­tus based on com­pre­hen­sive data.

5. that all re­quests by the min­ing com­pany to dig an­other 50 feet in depth will be con­sid­ered by DEP to be a “ma­jor per­mit re­vi­sion” and will re­quire pub­lic no­tice in a lo­cal news­pa­per.

There was also a dis­cus­sion of how the lo­cal res­i­dents with pri­vate wells could con­tact the DEP Min­ing Of­fice to re­port prob­lems with their wa­ter sup­ply and/ or to ask for as­sis­tance. Res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to con­tact the DEP as soon as they no­tice a prob­lem rather than wait­ing. DEP will make a “fact sheet” avail­able to our area res­i­dents. In the mean­time, res­i­dents can call the DEP Min­ing Of­fice at 1-570621-3118.

Fur­ther, it was sug­gested that res­i­dents with pri­vate wells gather in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the sta­tus of their wa­ter sup­ply prior to fur­ther drilling at the quarry. In­for­ma­tion as to the fol­low­ing items may be an im­por­tant ref­er­ence in the fu­ture: when was the well drilled, what was the name of the well driller, what is the depth of the well, what is the yield of the well, type of case­ment used, etc.

It was also sug­gested that the Bor­ough of Kutz­town no­tify DEP if it no­tices any changes in pat­tern with its wa­ter sup­ply. For ex­am­ple, if the Bor­ough has to re­quest that the min­ing com­pany cease pump­ing wa­ter more of­ten than usual or out of the usual sea­sonal pat­tern or if some­thing hap­pens with its wa­ter sup­ply that wasn’t pre­dicted.

I am hope­ful that with con­tin­ued com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween lo­cal res­i­dents and the DEP re­gard­ing our lo­cal wa­ter sup­ply, we will be able to of­fer more com­plete in­for­ma­tion to each other. I be­lieve that pro­tect­ing the in­tegrity of our lo­cal aquifer is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity. Thank you for your as­sis­tance in this ef­fort to do our part as lo­cal res­i­dents. — Lisa Ladd-Kid­der Res­i­dent of Kutz­town

With grat­i­tude to the fol­low­ing peo­ple/groups, who were in­stru­men­tal in re­spond­ing to our call for in­creased in­for­ma­tion, dis­cus­sion, and re­view re­gard­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the amount of per­mit­ted de­wa­ter­ing at the Kutz­town Quarry: the Kutz­town Bor­ough Coun­cil, State Sen­a­tor Judy Sch­wank, the Kutz­town Wa­ter Sup­ply Spe­cial­ist from SSM, the mem­bers of the Kutz­town En­vi­ron­men­tal Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion, Ms. Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth, mem­bers of the Kutz­town Wa­ter/ Wastewater Com­mit­tee, lo­cal res­i­dents who sup­ported the re­quest for a DEP Pub­lic Hear­ing, lo­cal res­i­dents who at­tended and gave tes­ti­mony at the DEP Pub­lic Hear­ing, Kutz­town Univer­sity Science pro­fes­sors who pro­vided tes­ti­mony at the DEP Pub­lic Hear­ing, lo­cal res­i­dents who pro­vided writ­ten tes­ti­mony, mem­bers of the Kutz­town Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, and the Ed­i­tor of the Kutz­town Pa­triot.

Fi­nally, for fu­ture ref­er­ence, here are the per­mit num­bers on file with the DEP:

New En­ter­prise Stone & Lime/Kutz­town Quarry

Sur­face Min­ing per­mit #7774SM3A1C9, A1C10 & A1C11

NPDES #PA0224499

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