Weather Forecast


Shafer mine gets planners' approval

Shafer Contracting will retain its mining permit for another year. The Rosemount Planning Commission voted to approve the renewal with a few extra conditions on Tuesday.

Renewal of the permit came into question after several residents who live near the mine, which is located west of Rich Valley Boulevard, complained about well water quality issues. Water quality reports done this fall at wells on property belonging to Gary Ista and Joan Schnieder showed levels of coliform contamination. The Ista well tested positive for the dangerous coliform E. coli.

The tests were conducted by Shafer for the residents because of previous concerns. After the complaints, the commission tabled the item in November until staff could work with the company and residents to resolve the issues.

To help figure the situation out, the city consulted Dakota County Water Resources Department's Jeff Luehrs about the issues. Luehrs said it was unlikely the bacteria originated with a well on the mine property. He added that the issue usually results from somewhere in the plumbing or well head.

Zweber said Ista had his well shocked and that additional testing came back negative for the bacteria. Ista attended the meeting and said he was good with how things were left.

Even though it's unlikely any contamination came from the mine, Zweber said Shafer has committed to capping a well on the mine property by May 31. Capping the well was added as a condition of approval. Additionally, a condition was added that allows the city to take independent soil and water sample if it sees fit.

The other resident to speak at the first meeting was Joan Schnieder. During the meeting she brought up concerns about the recycled aggregate products the mine was hauling in from the airport. Schnieder did not attend the follow up meeting.

Zweber said he talked with a representative from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency about the products and whether they could transport contaminants into the mine.

Because of its impervious nature, Zweber said it's highly unlikely the concrete and asphalt could bring in contaminants.

Concerns were also brought up about possible chemicals used in de-icing chemicals. Zweber said he was told that the glycol in the de-icer breaks down quickly meaning it would not cause contamination.

To further quell doubts, Zweber said the soil in the area the aggregate is kept was tested and did not show any level of contamination.

After the staff presentation there was little conversation and the motion to recommend the renewal passed unanimously among the four commissioners present. Vanessa Demuth and Syed Hussain were absent.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
(651) 460-6606