Monday, September 14, 2015
Ind. Gov't. - Still more on: Water quality certification permit for Singleton Stone Quarry, located in Lake Co., raises controversy in two states
Approval of the final permit needed by Singleton Stone, LLC to operate a stone quarry in Eagle Creek Township in south Lake County was granted late Friday afternoon despite mounting opposition on both sides of the state line.More quotes from the long story:
In a letter from Brian Wolff, branch chief of surface water, operations and enforcement in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management office of Water Quality to Gene Yarkie of Reith Riley Construction Co., Wolff said IDEM staff has determined the permit application as submitted complies with the applicable provisions of the Clean Water Act so long as several conditions are met.
Those conditions include allowing an IDEM commissioner or agent reasonable access to the site and records as well as not changing the scope of work as outlined in the original application, among other conditions. A representative from Reith Riley Construction was not immediately available for comment Friday.
Barry Sneed, public information officer with IDEM, said in an email Friday that the department issued the 401 Water Quality Certification permit after reviewing the comments submitted to the agency.
"The overwhelming majority of the comments that IDEM received concerned three issues: flooding, impacts to endangered aquatic species, and potential threats to water quality from a leaking underground storage tank to the north of the proposed quarry," Sneed said.
Sneed went on to say the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which is tasked with regulating construction in floodways to prevent the increase of a 100-year flood event to no greater than 0.1 feet, granted two permits for construction in a floodway to Singleton on June 12.
"IDEM did not find any evidence to believe the volumes of groundwater to be pumped into Singleton Ditch from the quarry, as proposed, would create water quality issues in Singleton Ditch," Sneed said.
Construction is underway on the limestone quarry that sits on a 1-mile by 1.5-mile parcel of farmland south of Indiana 2, west of Range Line Road and east of Interstate 65. The quarry is expected to be about 450 feet deep and is permitted to pump up to 72 million gallons of water a day into the Singleton Ditch. Officials have said the actual amount of water pumped will be between 12 million and 30 million gallons.
The news comes in the wake of a Sept. 4 request by Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, seeking a public hearing on the permit after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended against approval on Aug. 24. Niemeyer could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.