The Segerstrom mine is applying for an amendment to their Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to add a high-capacity well and a sand washing plant to their mine located on Highway 37. They say this is just a minor routine amendment – “nothing to see here, just move along please.”
I disagree. This is a major change to their operation — because it puts them in a position to be a regional processor of frac sand long after the local mine is done.
This is especially important because the Segerstrom permit is one of the very first ones approved by the County back in the days when nobody was paying attention. So unlike today where we have the benefit of a much more rigorous zoning ordinance and a much more detailed set of requirements to file an application for a sand mine or a processing plant, there are virtually no limits on what Segerstrom can do.
- There are no limits on the number of trucks per day
- The only limit on haul routes is that they must stay on State highways
- There is no fixed haul route specified, and these could change at any time
Here are a few maps to give you a sense of the trouble we will be in if this application is approved.
Segerstrom could become a regional processing site for frac sand
The bulls-eye shows approximately where the Segerstrom mine is, on Highway 37. The incoming arrows show all the places where sand could be coming from in order to be washed at Segerstrom’s. The current permit places no limit on the number of trucks, the locations they could be coming from. the routes that they are required to follow or the hours of the day that they are prohibited from running. If you live along any of these routes, you are at risk of an unpleasant surprise that could come along any time over the next 20 years or so. Imagine what that uncertainty is going to do to your property value.
Segerstrom can ship his sand anywhere, and change his route at any time
The Segerstrom permit also makes no mention of where sand will be shipped, the number of trucks, the route that it will take or the hours of operation. So here’s a map of all the options. Again, if you live on any of these roads, your life could change over night if the Segerstrom operation finds a better deal on selling or loading their sand over the life of that plant.
Just a reminder of promises not kept
Segerstrom stated on the record, at least twice, that no trees would be taken down. He also said that no more than 10 acres would be open at a time. Here’s a picture of the site I shot a little over a year ago. Draw your own conclusions. You can see a few more versions of this picture in the original blog post — click HERE to see that post.
Next meeting — you can help
The Board of Adjustments is meeting on April 23rd (3pm, at the Buffalo County Courthouse) to consider this modification to the Segerstrom permit. Click HERE to go look at the details of the meeting on our “Meetings” page.
I’ll be there — I’ll be asking them to consider this a major change to their permit, one that should go through the whole permitting process rather than just the abbreviated one that is allowed for minor changes (which is currently what is on the table). Please join me — this is a change that has county-wide impacts.
Here’s a set of links to various documents you may find useful:
- April 2014 — Reclamation plan additions to accommodate the new wash-plant plans. Click HERE for the revised plan, HERE for Figure 1 Site Location Map, HERE for Figure 2 Site Plan View and HERE for Figure 3 Site Detail.
- January 2014 — Application for CUP to add high-capacity well and wash plant to the operation. Click HERE for the file.
- May 2013 — Frac Sand Frisbee blog post — “Is Buffalo County Sand Any Good?” — features the failure of Segerstrom’s dry processing plant failure to clean the sand to be marketable. Click HERE for the post.
- February 2013 — a diagram from Land Resources office showing approved mines and haul routes listing Segerstrom as approved for 100 loads a day. Click HERE to view the file
- January 2013 — Frac Sand Frisbee blog post — pictures of the Segerstrom Mine — showing how they’ve torn the whole front of the bluff off — so much for “no trees will be taken down.” Click HERE to see the post.
- January 2012 — Minutes of BOA meeting where Condition #7 (prohibiting blasting) was removed. Click HERE to view the file.
- September 2011 — Reclamation Costs and Bond (in which Segerstrom again claims that no trees will be taken down on the site). Click HERE for the file.
- September 2011 — Reclamation Plan. A good source of site-maps (plow through the boilerplate, the maps are at the end). Click HERE for the file.
- July 2011 — Original decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment granting conditional use permit. Click HERE for this 500k PDF file.
- July 2011 — Minutes of the BOA meeting where the original permit was issued (source of the 100 trucks/day estimate and Segerstrom claiming not to take trees down). Click HERE for the file.
- The Zoning Department responses to the seven factors that must be considered in a Conditional Use Permit — for the Segerstrom and the Barth permits. Click HERE for the PDF version.
- The conditions placed on the permits for Barth and Segerstrom — Click HERE for the PDF version.
- Aerial photo of the mine site — click HERE