Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 16:48
Hydrologist hired to evaluate county plan’s impact on water table
The Town of Saukville’s Quarry Committee got some technical assistance last week when the Town Board approved hiring a hydrologist to study the county’s reclamation plan for the proposed gravel pit on the former Opitz property on Birchwood Road.
Hiring the specialist was one of the last initiatives made by Supr. Kate Smallish, who is resigning from the board at the end of the month.
Smallish is a longtime member of the Quarry Committee who plans to stay on that panel at least until the county gravel pit issue is resolved.
Ozaukee County acquired the 35-acre property last year, and officials contend the site has enough gravel to meet road-building needs for as long as eight years.
The county controls the zoning on the property, but the town can impose restriction on the quarrying operation through the site reclamation plan.
That plan was submitted in late June, and the town has 60 days to take action.
Smallish said the committee needs the technical expertise a hydrologist can provide to determine whether the reclamation plan protects the interests of the town and its residents.
“The biggest concern voiced at the public hearing was how the quarry would affect the water table and local wells. There is a lake directly across the road and a wetland on one end of the property,” she told the board.
“We want to make sure we aren’t allowing anything that would do any damage to the water table so that down the road we don’t have to defend ourselves for not doing our homework. I think it is our duty to do this.”
Because the hydrologist would be hired on an hourly basis, Smallish said she is unsure how much the consultation would cost.
“We have to answer to the Department of Natural Resources and possibly the Army Corps of Engineers, so it could be pretty involved,” she said.
Town Chairman Don Hamm supported the idea of getting technical help, but worried about the cost.
“I am not comfortable with an open checkbook,” Hamm said. “I don’t have an issue spending some money, but I think we need to cap the amount.”
Supr. Curt Rutkowski agreed a spending limit was needed, so a motion was approved that up to $2,500 could be used for the specialist.
The county paid a $3,500 application fee for its quarry permit. That money will be used to cover the cost of the study.
The board also approved adding two members to the three-person Quarry Committee, at least on a temporary basis.
Those new members are former Town Chairman Marvin Hoffmann and resident Nancy Neyland.