New Jersey quarry faces mid-August shut-down over monitoring wells dispute

Ringwood Borough Council, in Passaic County, New Jersey, has told Braen Stone’s Van Orden Sand & Gravel quarry that it has until mid-August to uphold the terms of its quarry license, or face shut-down.

According to a story on the www.northjersey.com website: “Borough officials said the West Brook Road rock quarry is lacking perimeter monitoring wells needed to safeguard residential wells that could be affected by the quarry’s steady expansion.

“The wells were negotiated during the quarry’s last license renewal in 2016 and have yet to be installed, said Richard Clemack, the borough attorney.

“Councilwoman Kathleen O’Keefe said she is extremely concerned about the roughly six dozen area homeowners that rely on private wells. There are no nearby water mains to back the residents up if their wells run dry, she added.

“It’s imperative that these wells be in place, so we can protect the water supply of these residents,” O’Keefe said.

The report goes on to say: “Jerome Vogel, the Hawthorne-based attorney representing the quarry, said he and other representatives would work under a 90-day license extension granted on May 21 by borough officials to resolve any disagreements that would prevent a three-year renewal though 2022.

“That includes discussing the size of the quarry’s performance bond and the well installation study that Braen commissioned in 2016 but has yet to implement, he said.

“The time for those wells has not yet ripened,” Vogel added. “The idea that we have not put in something that was required, I don’t think is fair.”

Thus far, quarry operations have disturbed about 50 to 60 acres of the 95-acre quarry zone, said Sean Isgan, the borough engineering consultant from CME Engineering. The wells would serve as sentries to detect potential problems as the quarry expands toward the zone’s boundary, he said.

“These wells are put in well in advance of mining for the very purpose of establishing background and seasonal and year-to-year fluctuations in groundwater,” Isgan said.

Borough officials said they expect to meet to discuss a potential license renewal through 2022 prior to the expiration of the license’s extension on Aug. 19, 2020.

They have granted 90-day extensions before, including while engaged with quarry attorneys in court. One court ruling established a floor threshold to protect the nearby private wells. Another capped the quarry’s yearly extraction limit at 413,000 tons. The town also implements an extraction fee of 5 cents per ton.

Van Orden Sand & Gravel of Ringwood was purchased in 1990 by Braen Stone Industries. This location produces granite gneiss aggregates and manufactures sand products for masonry and concrete applications.

For more information on the Ringwood quarry, operated by Braen Stone, lick HERE or follow this link: https://braenstone.com/ringwood/

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