Council to send letter opposing permit amendment
Scandia’s gravel mine wants to use more water, but the city isn’t having it.
The Scandia City Council last week directed city staff to draft a letter opposing a permit amendment sought by Tiller Corporation from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to draw an additional 10 million gallons of groundwater per year, which it uses for gravel washing, dust control and other mine operations.
In its letter seeking the amended permit, Tiller Corporation said it is looking to improve the Scandia Mine’s sedimentation basins to ultimately reduce the amount of water it uses. Water used for gravel washing comes from a production well and a groundwater-fed pond, which the company is actively mining. Though the wash water is recycled and reused on site, approximately 10 percent of the water is lost to infiltration and evaporation, the company said.
The mine, which is located off Manning Trail north of Highway 97, is currently permitted to use 20 million gallons per year.
Councilwoman Patti Ray raised concerns about the permit, noting the current severe drought conditions the area is experiencing.
“It’s the worst drought we’ve had in 1,200 years,” Ray said. “I would be in favor of sending a letter to the DNR from the council, if possible, supporting that they do not increase this at this time.”
City Engineer Ryan Goodman pointed out that the Minnesota DNR is currently advising Minnesota cities to reduce water usage and has also suggested watering bans.
“It certainly doesn’t appear to be the right timing (for Tiller Corporation) to make this request,” City Administrator Ken Cammilleri said.
Cammilleri encouraged members of the public to reach out the DNR if they have concerns about the proposal.
“(The Minnesota DNR) are the ones who will be processing and approving this permit,” Cammilleri said.
While city does not have direct authority over the water permit, Cammilleri said, the city’s mine permit does allow the city to hold the company financially accountable if neighboring wells are harmed by any mine operation.
• The Scandia Heritage Alliance announced they have received a $100,000 grant from the Andersen Corporate Foundation toward the group’s effort toward reconstructing the Water Tower Barn.
• The council granted variances to construct a new septic system within a setback to Mark McGinley, 21529 St. Croix Tr. N.; and to Dan and Melissa Potter for a landing and staircase within lakeshore and side setbacks at 13260 182nd St. N.
• The council accepted a $6,089 donation from the Scandia Fire Relief Association to help offset the cost of a new defibrillator.
• The council approved a 2021 contract with Lakes Center for Youth and Families, which provides youth counseling, education and prevention programming in the region.
• The council approved a permit for Scandia Taco Daze on Sept. 11, and a permit for the Scandia Women’s Softball Turkey Bingo event to be held Nov. 19.
• The council accepted a bid for replacing the roofs of the Scandia Fire/Public Works building and the Annex building. The cost of the work will be $115,119. The city had budgeted $130,000.
• The council approved a step wage increase to $41.62 per hour for Scandia Fire Chief Mike Hinz.
The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m.