DHEC Approves Quarry

WINNSBORO – Winnsboro Crushed Stone, LLC (WCS), the company intent on mining granite out of 365.8 acres of a 923.2-acre site off Rockton Thruway, cleared another hurdle last week, receiving approval of its Mine Operating Permit Application from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

DHEC said requests for a final review (appeal) of the permit may be made in writing within 15 days of the April 22 decision. Dorothy Brandenburg, a Rockton Thruway resident who has led the campaign against the quarry, told The Voice last week that her group was “looking for grounds for an appeal.”

Brandenburg told County Council the same thing Monday night, adding that “there are also several different courts we can actually take this to, depending on different regulations that we’ve found over the past few months.”

The company still has to work through traffic issues with the Department of Transportation, specifically concerning the crossover road between Rockton Thruway and Highway 34. According to the DHEC permit, “WCS will upgrade the intersection per SCDOT requirements to enhance the safety of vehicular traffic in the area.”

The permit notes that WCS may address its water supply concerns by either drilling wells or connecting to the Town of Winnsboro’s system. If opting for the latter, the permit states, WCS would seek 500,000 gallons a month from the Town.

The permit addresses several issues brought up by nearby residents during last November’s public hearing, including the mine’s potential impact on local residential wells.

“Impact on groundwater conditions around the Winnsboro Quarry should be minimal,” the permit states. “Pit development at WCS will be consistent with other quarries operated in the Piedmont of S.C. The process is slow and will take years before the bottom of the pit will extend into the water table and require dewatering of the pit.”

WCS will monitor local wells, the permit states. If domestic wells are affected by the quarry, the company will provide an alternate water supply at no cost to the owner.

The permit also addresses concerns raised by residents over blasting. Regulations require a pre-blast survey of all structures within a half mile (2,640 feet) of any proposed blasting area. Those same regulations require a minimum distance of 1,000 feet between the blast area and any structure not owned by the mining company. The nearest structure to the blasting points in this case, the permit states, is 2,500 feet, well beyond the state minimum of 1,000 feet and Fairfield County’s Land Ordinance minimum distance of 1,500 feet.

WCS still has to lock down their water supply, as well as bring a site plan to the County for approval. Milton Pope, Interim Administrator, said Monday night that the company had not yet brought any plan to the County.

“That’s one of the last things Winnsboro Crushed Stone, LLC has to do,” Pope said. “That site development plan has to be consistent with the planning and zoning regulations of the County.”

Brandenburg urged Council to do its due diligence before giving the OK to any plans.

“If everything moves forward as it has and everything does go through,” Brandenburg said, “this operation will come through the County and you will have adequate opportunity to address issues and possibly impose different regulations on your side of it.”

 

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