Residents of Huger gathered to show their opposition for a proposal to expand a sand mining operation at a public meeting Sept. 2.
Since 2017, people have voiced their complaints about the operation, which is being proposed by Donmar Sand Mines. Details in the blueprint for the mine include expanding it from five acres to 30.58 acres.
Edward Beaufort-Cutner is a Huger resident who is actively involved in fighting the expansion of the sand mine since it was proposed.
“It’s how it affects the quality of life in our community. It affects our drinking water and air quality,” he said.
“DHEC is a government agency whose primary function is the protection of the quality of life for the community which it is in. I don’t see how they can approve a detrimental license for the mines to operate in a community such as ours,” he added.
“When those developers extract those resources from us, it dwindles and shrinks our community,” said Sybil Mitchell, who is also a Huger resident.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Department of Health and Control (DHEC) is in the process of deciding whether or not to grant Donmar Sand Mines the required permitting needed to move forward with the project.
On Sept. 2, DHEC hosted a socially-distanced public meeting which also included a publicly-accessible Zoom call. The meeting allowed residents the opportunity to ask questions, provide comments, and voice their concerns with the project.
Riley Egger, the Land, Water, and Wildlife project manager at the Coastal Conservation League, said that environmental impacts could affect the community if the project were to move forward.
“You can’t neglect the environmental concerns that mining operations pose. We have serious concerns from the dewatering activities of mines. When you’re sand mining, then the water is going to build up, and that water has to go somewhere,” Egger said.
“If that water is outside of the parameters set by DHEC, which we have seen in a number of different mines, then it could have some serious impacts on the wetlands and nearby water bodies,” she said.
DHEC will continue to accept written public comments regarding the application until Sept. 16.
Comments may be accepted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to: Haley Smarr, project manager, DHEC Bureau of Land and Waste Management, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201.