Gary D. Rowles, North Mankato
— The availability of good quality drinking water must be managed. The first and top priority is day-to-day citizen use, than agriculture, light industry, and finally heavy industrial mining use.
Jordan Sands has applied for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permits to pump 5,000 gallons-per-minute of water from our aquifer to mine and process silica sand. They have stated in their Environmental Assessment Worksheet “this results in an input requirement of 350 GPM”, this figured on a permit for 5,000 GPM, 350/5000 equals 7 percent.
Unimin near Kasota, in a similar project states that their recycling rate will be 50 percent. That is a difference of 43 percent.
Jordan Sands and Unimin would both be lowering the water table in order to mine the sand from within the Prairie du Chien–Jordan aquifer — this is a dangerous process.
A citizens group has sued the DNR over low water levels in White Bear Lake, arguing that the lake’s shrinkage is due to the agency’s approval of increasing water use by surrounding cities.
White Bear Lake’s water level dropped more than 5 feet between early 2003 and late 2010. It rose slightly last year, but is once again at a record low.
A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that the lake’s decline corresponds with declining water levels in the Prairie du Chien-Jordan groundwater aquifer. This is the same aquifer that Unimin and Jordan Sands will be drawing their mining water.
Minnesotans must have time to study and develop a plan that is both good for business and good for the people. The time needed can best be met by a state moratorium.