Trempealeau County regulators cite wrong mining company

Dept. of Land Management monitoring Guza mine

Regulators in western Wisconsin say they took action against the wrong company after discovering permit violations at a frac sand mine.

The Trempealeau County Department of Land Management said Tuesday mining activity at the Guza mine was being conducted by local company Cameron Rail Site. The county had issued a stop order to Texas-based Superior Silica Sands.

The county said Tuesday that Superior Silica Sands was conducting construction work on the site but wasn’t mining. Its president and CEO says his company wasn’t in violation. The stock of its parent company, Emerge Energy Services, dropped after the allegations were reported.

The county provided Cameron Rail Site with a corrective action plan. In a news release, the Trempealeau County Department of Land Management identified three violations of the approved reclamation plan, a permit held by Cameron Rail Site, LLC at the site:

1. The approved plan requires that no land shall be disturbed within 300 feet of an unnamed navigable stream, however, land is disturbed within the 300 feet.

2. The approved plan allows only water to be pumped, via pipe, under the unnamed stream, however a water-sand slurry mix is being pumped under the unnamed stream, and

3. The approved plan required that if polyacrylamides are being used in settling ponds, then the pond must be concrete lined. The Department of Land Management has identified that two ponds on the site were using polyacrylamides and were not concrete lined.

On October 13, the Department did a further inspection of the Guza mine and said it “has no reason to believe there are any immediate public health threats or concerns at the site.” Sand mining plays a key role in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.