By Charlotte Underwood
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation held an online public hearing regarding waste water permitting for a proposed limestone rock quarry by Potter Southeast Stone Facility at 1623 Jacksboro Pike.
During the hearing several local citizens expressed concern regarding sediment and run off from the proposed rock quarry into Hunter’s Branch Creek. The permit would encompass 25.03 acres of land that includes a mining area, haul roads, and a treatment pond for wastewater and storm water discharge.
Tuesday evening’s public meeting began with a technical session with information about the project and the draft permit. The public hearing pertained only to a waste water and storm water discharge permit for the quarry. Several questions were asked about blasting and the dangers of silica dust, but TDEC officials said their department had no jurisdiction in that area and that those questions needed to be directed to the division of air pollution control.
TDEC officials said if the permit is granted, it will come with requirements such as twice monthly water sample monitoring. Water samples must maintain a PH balance between six and nine and no discharge can contain anything dangerous to humans, animals or plants. A storm drainage storage pond will also have to be used to prevent sediment runoff, which will be monitored and held to state guidelines of 40 milligrams per liter for total suspended solids.
Potter Southeast Stone Facility already has two “general” water permits for basic construction, grading and earth work to be done on the property.
One question asked by several members of the public pertained to violations by the applicant and whether or not berms (a level space, shelf, or raised barrier separating two areas) had been dug properly.
According to TDEC officials, the applicant had a violation on March 6, for “sediment leaving the site”, with “improper berms” being part of that violation. State inspectors rechecked the site and said it had returned to compliance by April 14 with earthen berms that had been seeded and strawed. Two local citizens who said they live adjacent to the property said that not all of it had been seeded and strawed. TDEC officials said they would “check into it” upon their next inspection.
Other questions pertained to the requirement that the applicant “self report” the water quality monthly to TDEC.
According to TDEC officials, “self reporting” is part of the Clean Water Act, but their department will “routinely be inspecting onsite as well.”
Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton asked several questions about water testing and where specifically test samples would be taken. According to TDEC official Brian Epperson, the applicant would be responsible for taking samples from the sediment pond and at the point of discharge.
Nearby resident John Thompson said he didn’t “see anything but trouble coming out of this in regards to water” and that he had concerns about sediment in the creek affecting the cattle “less than 200 yards downstream.” Other citizens said they would like to see Hunter’s Branch Creek be monitored and sampled more than twice a month. The Department of Environment and Conservation will continue to take written comments from the public until May 22. Afterwards, an official decision will be made and posted to TDEC’s Public Data Viewer regarding the water discharge permit. Questions and comments from the public during the public hearing, as well as written comments received will be addressed in the division’s official notice of determination.
Comments can be emailed to Dennis Conger at email@example.com or via mail to 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37921. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/13/2020-6AM)