Nonmetallic Mining Reclamation (Chapter 18)

Introduction

Glacial deposits of sand and gravel and lowland deposits of peat provide for a widespread and diverse nonmetallic mining industry in Washington County. More than a dozen mines in the county provide aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed stone etc.) for construction, road building and maintenance and agricultural uses. A smaller number of sites mine peat for horticulture and landscaping.

Long standing concerns over safety and land use issues related to abandoned mining sites were addressed in 1993 when the state legislature adopted Chapter 295 of the Wisconsin State Statutes. This statute required the Department of Natural Resources to establish rules to implement the nonmetallic mining reclamation program. The DNR completed those rules (Chapter NR 135, Wis. Administrative Code) in the fall of 2000 and revised the rule in the fall of 2006.

Chapter 18 Ordinance

In April 2007, the Washington County Board of Supervisors adopted revisions to County Code Chapter 18 (adopted June 19, 2001) to comply with the requirements of NR 135. It requires an operator to have an approved reclamation plan on file prior to operating a new mine.

The purpose of the reclamation plan is to achieve acceptable final site reclamation to an approved post-mining land use in compliance with the uniform reclamation standards. The uniform reclamation standards address environmental protection measures including topsoil salvage and storage, surface and groundwater protection, and contemporaneous reclamation to minimize the acreage exposed to wind and water erosion.

Chapter NR 135 also requires that mine operators submit annual fees, and an acceptable financial assurance to ensure completion of the reclamation plan.

In summary, reclamation of nonmetallic mines according to approved plans will achieve approved post-mining land uses. This results in environmental protection, stable non-eroding sites, productive end land uses and potential to enhance habitat and increase land values and tax revenues.

Administration of Nonmetallic Mining Reclamation
Town/Village/City Adopted Reclamation
Ordinance
Current Administering
Authority
Town of Wayne Yes Town
Town of Kewaskum Yes County
Town of Farmington No County
Town of Addison No County
Town of Barton Yes County
Town of West Bend No County
Town of Trenton No County
Town of Hartford Yes County
Town of Polk No County
Town of Jackson Yes Town
Town of Erin No County
Village of Richfield No County
Town of Germantown Yes Town
Village of Kewaskum No County
Village of Newburg No County
Village of Slinger No County
Village of Jackson No County
Village of Germantown No County
City of Hartford No County
City of West Bend No County

Note: NR 135 allows cities, towns and villages the option to adopt a reclamation ordinance and administer a program within their jurisdiction. As a result, Washington County enforcement of the provisions of Chapter 18 is limited only to those jurisdictions where the local municipality has not adopted similar provisions. The table above lists local units of government within Washington County and the status of who administers reclamation regulations (pursuant to NR 135) in each.