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Board approves Monolith wells, with conditions

Board approves Monolith wells, with conditions

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The Waverly News Sig

LINCOLN – The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) Board of Directors has approved applications by Monolith Materials to construct three wells to support an expansion of its manufacturing plant near Hallam. In its well permit applications, Monolith estimates the three wells will pump a combined 420 million gallons of water annually to be used primarily for cooling purposes in its carbon black manufacturing process and in the production of anhydrous fertilizer. The approvals, including certain conditions, came during a June 29 special meeting of the Board and follows a nearly one-year process of testing and study to determine what impact the wells would have on the groundwater aquifer and groundwater users in the area around the wells. Prior to the Board’s special meeting, LPSNRD also conducted an informational public open house in Hallam on June 15 and a public input session on June 17. Written comments from the public were also accepted.

In summary, conditions applied by the LPSNRD Board to its approval include:

- LPSNRD does not find any condition set forth in Section C, Rule 3(a) of its Groundwater Rules and Regulations, including detrimental effects to the aquifer and-or adverse effect on nearby wells, and accordingly Rule 3(a) requires the application shall be granted.

- Under LPSNRD’s Groundwater Rules and Regulations, all three of Monolith’s wells are required, along with all permitted wells in the district, to have a water flowmeter, which monitors the total amount of water pumped, installed and the total of water pumped annually by each well must be reported to LPSNRD. As a condition of the well permit the Board is requiring quarterly reports by Monolith.

- Monolith, or its successor(s) in interest, maintain control over the land upon which the wells are located

- Static water level measurements and groundwater quality analysis for sodium, chloride and total dissolved solids in Monolith’s wells 2 and 3, which were exempted by the LPSNRD Board from aquifer testing and hydrogeologic analysis, but the Board insisted on the measurements and quality analysis

- Implementation of Monolith’s Groundwater Management Plan, submitted as part of Monolith’s well permit application

- At least one set of measurements and quality analysis for each of the two wells must be submitted to LPSNRD prior to Monolith’s OC2 Plant beginning operation

- After the plant start-up, measurement and quality analysis will be submitted quarterly for two years, then LPSNRD will work with Monolith to determine the frequency of future measurements and sampling analysis

- Placement of additional requirements on Monolith by the LPSNRD Board, if Monolith is found to have misrepresented information related to its permit applications or if Monolith operates its plant in a manner inconsistent with its application.

The Board voted 19-0 to approve the well permits. Following the vote, Board Chair Deborah Eagan thanked everyone involved in the application process, which she called complex, challenging and interesting. 

Eagan said, “I think we’ve come to a good conclusion.”

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