INDEPENDENCE, Wis. (AP) — Regulators in western Wisconsin have shut down a frack sand mine that they say was dumping polluted wastewater into an unlined pond.
The Guza Pit near Independence was shut down this week after neighbors alerted the county and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about activity at the site, believing that owners hadn’t yet gotten permission to operate, the Star Tribune reported.
Trempealeau County zoning chief Kevin Lien said mine operators are required to dump certain polluted water into a lined pond. The chemical polyacrylamide is used to clarify frack sand wash water and contains residual amounts of acrylamide, a neurotoxin linked to cancer and infertility.
The Guza Pit, located across the Mississippi River from Winona, Minn., is operated by Superior Silica Sands, a Texas-based company. A spokesman did not immediately return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
Lien said workers at the site agreed to cease activity while lawyers for the mining company met with county officials.
Local regulators have faced challenges as large and small mining operations, often run by out-of-state owners, have cropped up in rural jurisdictions across Wisconsin and Minnesota due to the Upper Midwest’s frack sand boom.
The silica sand found in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota is essential to a technique known as “fracking” that has set off a drilling resurgence in North Dakota and other parts of the U.S. and Canada. The sand is shipped to oil-producing regions, including North Dakota.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com