Update: Residents voice concern over proposed frac mine expansio - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Update: Residents voice concern over proposed frac mine expansion in Chippewa Co.

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Chippewa County (WQOW) - Citizens voiced concerns about a proposed expansion of a frac sand mine at a meeting Tuesday.

During Tuesday evening's public hearing in Chippewa Falls, many residents voiced their opinions about the potential expansion. "The land will never be the same, the wildlife will never be the same, and the hills are gone,” said Heather Anderson.

The Chippewa Sand Company LLC wants to expand from 142 acres to 1,085. The company wants to extract sand and sandstone using things like excavators and bulldozers.

At the hearing, residents said they're concerned about potential runoff causing problems with the water supply and about life after the mining is over.

"To request that the life of this mine be extended out 60 years is beyond reasonable and the county should strongly consider reigning in on this part of the proposal." said Patricia Popple.

Mark Krumenacher, a member of the sand company, tried to ease some of the concerns about potential sand runoff into local waters.

"So we designed this to handle the 100 year storm event, that's 10 times, that's an order of magnitude more than what's required by the state," Krumenacher said during the hearing.

The committee will consider public testimony before its decision. It now has 60 days to approve or deny the expansion.


Bloomer (WQOW)- A sand mine near Bloomer is hoping to expand. 

Currently, Chippewa Sand Company LLC is mining 142 acres, but if the expansion is approved the site will cover about 1,085 acres of land. 

The company wants to extract sand and sandstone using things like excavators and bulldozers.

Patricia Popple lives in Chippewa Falls, and thinks this expansion is a bad idea.
 
There are few studies on how fracking impacts the environment and communities in the long term. 

Chippewa County documents state the company wants to drain its contaminated storm and waste water into a nearby stream. 

Popple thinks that could be a safety hazard for wildlife, and is worried it could even impact our drinking water. 

"Silica is a carcinogen, silica, crystalline silica dust, and when they open up these formations of sand stone here that are 500 million years old, they're actually opening up all kinds of dust. There's lots of fugitive dust that results too with the trucking and transport by railroad," Popple said.

News 18 reached out to company officials and all they'd say is they want to expand their facility in Bloomer, and will operate how they always do. 

A public meeting is being held Tuesday at the Chippewa County Courthouse at 7 p.m., in room 302. 

The committee has 60 days to approve or deny the expansion after Tuesday's meeting. 

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