Aug 11, 2021

New Beaver, Pennsylvania, Gravel Mine Decision Postponed Due to Concerns Including Water Quality

New Beaver residents and homeowners objected to the enterprise and raised concerns about: contaminated spring water, air and ground pollution, threats to wildlife, dust, noise and industrial vehicle traffic.

clean water

A proposed 100-acre sand and gravel mining operation is under consideration in New Beaver, a borough in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. 

According to Beaver County Times, New Beaver Council voted Aug. 9 to postpone its consideration of Three Rivers Aggregates’ request to establish a surface mine on private property in the borough. 

Three Rivers provides sand and gravel products to the construction industry and asked the borough to approve a conditional use permit. 

This permit, according to Beaver County Times, would allow the company to build on commercially-zoned property south of Route 18, east of Glenkirk Road and west of Newport Road. This comes to a total of 95.5 acres affected by rock removal, and the permitting area exceeds 133 acres.

The New Beaver Council has 45 days to make a decision and more than 40 people attended the public hearing held prior to the Aug. 9 meeting. New Beaver residents and homeowners objected to the enterprise and raised concerns about: contaminated spring water, air and ground pollution, threats to wildlife, dust, noise and industrial vehicle traffic.

The construction would cross a handful of wetlands and a stream, which has residents concerned about drinking water contamination. 

If the zoning permit is approved, ​​Marilyn and Timothy Carney, long-time residents of New Beaver for 33 years, asked for certain safeguards including:

  • Requiring setbacks of at least 1,000 feet from any neighboring landowner’s property line;
  • Requiring Three Rivers to install high border fences or walls with green screening to shield the community from industrial mining activity;
  • Requiring Three Rivers to monitor surrounding air quality, monitor noise levels, and light levels;
  • Requiring regular water testing of all homes with spring or well water at least every six months with the results provided in a timely manner to all residents and the municipality; and
  • Restricting the hours of operation of mining activity to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m on weekdays with no mining activity on weekends. 

According to project engineer Mark Phillian with RAR Engineering in New Castle, the mine would last approximately 10 years and water supply studies were conducted by hydrologists to see if wells would be affected by the undertaking, reported Beaver County Times. The mine would be situated on three parcels of land, in which two of them zoned agricultural which allows for mineral mining. The third parcel is classified as commercial, so conditional use of mining would be allowed.

“There are no water supplies that could be affected,” said Phillian during the Aug. 9 public hearing. “It’s going to be the opinion of the state once they review it.”

The company’s full-scope permit application is still in review by the Pennsylvania DEP. If the conditional use permit isn’t granted for the third parcel, the project is stalled until Three Rivers refiles. 

Three Rivers plans to secure a $400,000 bond for reclamation, according to Phillian, reported Beaver County Times.

The council’s next regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at 778 Wampum-New Galilee Road.

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