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home : news : local   February 6, 2016

11/7/2013 1:44:00 AM
500-acre mine reclamation plan released


Kevin Caufield
NewsTribune Reporter



OTTAWA — La Salle County development officials will offer their recommendation next month on a sand mine reclamation plan submitted recently for a large project coming to North Utica.
Development committee members Wednesday expressed some initial concerns after reviewing the reclamation plan for the Ancell Sands, LLC sand mine to be constructed on nearly 500 acres of rural farm property north of Love’s Travel Center.
“The county has a right to call a hearing on the project or invite them here to talk about concerns or make recommendations,” said La Salle County zoning director Mike Harsted. “It would probably be good for the village of Utica to get involved too if they haven’t already.”
Reclamation plans are submitted by mine developers to explain what will happen to a quarry after mining operations have ceased. The plan must be approved by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which determines if such a plan abides by state law.
However, the plan for the Ancell mine is very basic and direct. It simply calls for the 140-foot deep pit to be converted into an 80 acre lake surrounded by 116 acres of pasture and 30 acres worth of berms with various types of vegetation.
Some of the concerns county development officials had regarding the plan dealt with farm tile drainage, storm water management and the possibility of having Ancell include and maintain recreational features along the lake for future public use.
“I feel no matter what reclamation is done we have a responsibility to do more,” said development committee member Mike Kasap (D-La Salle).
Committee members intend to ask Ancell representatives to speak to the committee when they meet again next month.
However, committee chairman Stephen Abel (D-Mendota) reminded the committee that sand mine companies such as Illinois Sand and Ancell don’t have to honor their reclamation requests.
“The problem is the responsibility is up to the village of Utica but I’m not sure they even know what they’re doing or if the time has passed for them to do anything about it,” Abel said. “All we can do is make suggestions and recommendations and hopefully they are willing to work with us.”

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or countyreporter@newstrib.com












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