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Sand Mine Expansion Concerns

Posted by Michael Brooks on July 24, 2017 at 4:15 PM

The U.S. Silica campany wants to expand its sand mining operations south further into Berkeley Springs. The Warm Springs Watershed Association has generated a statement of concern that we publish here, and on our website.

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The springs located in the Town of Bath at the base of Warm Springs Ridge are of economic, cultural, and historic significance to the people of Morgan County, and are the sole source of drinking water for the Town of Bath and the customers of the Berkeley Springs Water Works. The Morgan County Comprehensive Plan and the Town of Bath Comprehensive Plan have identified protection of the community water system as a goal. Protection is critical for the area determined through studies to be the spring recharge area, and designated by the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health as a Deep Water Protection Area.

In accordance with the studies and source water protection plans completed over the past 15 years for the Berkeley Springs public water system, the Warm Springs Watershed Association (WSWA) is concerned that southward expansion of mining and quarry activities associated with extraction of sandstone poses a threat to the hydrogeologic setting of the aquifer. It is the position of the WSWA that US Silica has not provided evidence the recharge area for the aquifer will not be reduced, nor have they demonstrated that the pathways the groundwater flows to the surface will not be interrupted from deep pit excavation and blasting within the designated source water protection area.

Because of the importance of the Berkeley Springs public water system to the Town of Bath and Morgan County, WSWA urges extreme caution in granting permits that expand mining and quarrying activities within the state-designated source water protection area.

 

Goal to protect the Warm Springs Deep Water Protection Area affirmed by the Warm Springs Watershed Association members April 12, 2017

Resolution adopted by the Warm Springs Watershed Board of Directors June 28, 2017

 

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