OMYA permit decision expected on Thursday

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(Host) The state of Vermont plans to issue a preliminary decision on Thursday concerning the disposal of mineral wastes from the OMYA mine in Pittsford. The company is seeking an exemption from Vermont’s solid waste law for the storage of these wastes but some residents of the region are fighting this effort.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jeffery Wennberg said he plans to release his preliminary decision on this issue on Thursday. Wennberg will then give all parties a week to respond to his initial ruling. He says the key issue is whether or not these wastes pose a health hazard:

(Wennberg) “Their processing of the calcium carbonate results in a small – but when you look at a pile this size – significant quantities of chemical contaminants, additives that are used in the process. That in and of itself does not disqualify as a earth material, but it could conceivably contribute to a determination of a potential threat.”

(Host) Wennberg says the company is also seeking exemptions for two other issues. He’s assured OMYA officials that if he determines the exemptions are not appropriate that the state will conduct the permit process in a expeditious manner:

(Wennberg) “In the event we determine that more than one of these three permits is required that we’ll make every effort to do a coordinated programs so that we’ll to schedule it and set it up so that there’d be one hearing where all the issues could be raised. They wouldn’t have to go through three separate processes with the department which makes no sense at all.”

(Host) Wennberg plans to hold a public hearing in Pittsford on Thursday to announce the department’s decision.

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