Regulations may change |

Regulations may change

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado “The Garfield County commissioners are expected to consider adopting revised regulations governing gravel mining in the county later this month.

The mining of gravel in the county, which is used to support area construction and also oil and gas operations, can sometimes be a controversial issue for residents in the county.

Commissioners will take up the proposed gravel regulations on Oct. 20, said Fred Jarman, the county’s building and planning director.

Several area residents and leaders of municipalities in the county petitioned the county commissioners in July of 2006 to examine gravel extraction regulations and determine if they needed to be updated.

A group of stakeholder groups later identified the major concerns with gravel extraction, which included reclamation, cumulative impacts and identifying when a gravel pit may close down.

“These new regulations are in a large way a refinement of what we do have in place,” Jarman said. “Part of the intent (behind the revised regulations) was to provide more direction and clarity to someone who wants to do mining and detail what the county expects.”

Jarman said some of the notable changes to the gravel pit rules are updates to reclamation requirements.

“These rules have more strict requirements for reclamation plans,” he said.

Anyone proposing a gravel mining pit must obtain a special use permit from the county commissioners. Those pits may only be located in specific zoning areas.

Some of the regulations in the draft mandate that anyone proposing a new gravel pit must submit a report drafted by a professional engineer showing whether the pit is located in a floodplain and that a pit developer would also have to provide a stormwater management plan that demonstrates how the project will not “adversely affect surface or groundwater resources.”

The proposed regulations also require that any proposed mining would have to be located a “sufficient distance” from other mining operations to avoid creating cumulative impacts to air quality. The rules also include wildlife, noise and traffic requirements.

One gravel mining operation the Garfield County commissioners gave the go-ahead for this year was one that would transport crushed gravel and sand on a conveyor system across the Colorado River about 2.2 miles east of Rifle.

That mining operation will extract 500,000 tons of sand and gravel a year, and it is expected to take eight years to mine the area, according to the county report. It will take another three years for reclamation of the property.

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117

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