Representatives from the North 40 Resources group introduced themselves to the town board of East Farmington on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The group has begun the process of purchasing the gravel pit located on 267th Street from Rybak. In the meeting they deliberated with board members over their plans for the pit for roughly an hour, reaching decisions for the future of the 80-acre quarry by the end of the night.
The quarry is currently producing gravel, limestone and sand — all of which will be continuing production for the foreseeable future. North 40 Resources has expressed interest in erecting a temporary mobile structure that will function as a plant to produce blacktop, hotmix or cement.
Fracking was mentioned as a future venture with a potential 700 tons of product as well. Any expansions or changes in program such as these would require an entirely separate set of permits and new conversations.
The pit is estimated to have at least another 15 years of material production within it. There are 5 to 6 years’ worth of sand and gravel within the pit and 15 years’ worth of limestone. A layer of silica exists below the other material, but no contract to harvest it is in place.
When the lifetime of the quarry has expired, reclamation of the land, per a plan filed with Polk County, will occur.
North 40 Resources has largely adopted the plan already in motion by Rybak, with adjustments such as aesthetic environmental choices for the future of the land.
In the event that an unforeseen circumstance prevents the completion of the reclamation plan, North 40 Resources would be responsible for posting a bond to cover the cost of the completed plan.
Other changes put forward by the new quarry owners include an increase in bodily injury insurance from one million dollars to two million dollars for employees. They’ve also revised quarry operation hours, with citizens now able to expect the quarry to be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The quarry will be closed on Sundays. New owners have adopted the responsibility of dust control around their premises as well as maintaining of the roads used by their operations.
Operations at the 267th Street quarry have gone on for over 30 years. Ownership of the pit has changed hands three times. Each time ownership changes, the accompanying permit has been updated to comply with regulations. Statewide, regulations associated with all aspects of pits have set standards on preserving and restoring land where operations take place during use of the pit and extending past its point of viability.
Representatives from the Town of East Farmington and North 40 Resources said they look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. Once documents have been approved and any zoning-related issues have been resolved, only a few signatures are needed before the transaction is completed.