A public health agency in Buffalo County has recommended extending the moratorium on new sand mining permits for up to five months.
A 7 month suspension on accepting new applications for sand and other non-metallic mining in Buffalo County expires Oct. 31st. Public health director Jen Rombalski said more time was needed to complete county board ordered studies of sand mining issues.
Rombalski said the county's moratorium should be extended at least two months and she preferred four to five months. A 19 page report on findings to date was distributed to the county's health & human services board and forwarded to the Buffalo County Board.
Public health services were tasked with studying potential health effects of silica "frac" sand mining on air and groundwater quality. Work done thus far by Rombalski and Lori Miller of county human services recommended making air quality monitoring plans a requirement of obtaining a mining conditional use-zoning permit.
Air monitors should be sensitive enough to measure dust particles and set in place for a month in advance of mining operations to obtain base data for future comparisons, the study said. Public health also advised setting up a review committee to keep environmental health standards current for obtaining a conditional-use zoning permit.