The Minnesota Legislature directed the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to consult with local governments and develop model standards and criteria for mining, processing, and transporting silica sand.

The EQB is asking for public input on the model standards and criteria. A public input period will begin October 18 and end November 12.

We ask that comments be focused on specific standards and criteria listed in the statute. The language of the statute, 116C.99, is listed below, including the specific standards and criteria.

Comments should be sent to:

Those who do not have access to e-mail can send comments to the following address:

Jeff Smyser, Principal Planner, Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194

We also urge interested parties to attend one of the public meetings designed as additional opportunities for public input.

October 25, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Blue Earth County Library, 100 East Main Street, Mankato, MN

October 29, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., St. Charles Community Center, 830 Whitewater Avenue, St. Charles, MN

October 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wabasha-Kellogg High School, Performing Arts Center, 2113 Hiawatha Drive East, Wabasha, MN



            Subd. 2. Standards and criteria. (a) By October 1, 2013, the Environmental Quality Board, in consultation with local units of government, shall develop model standards and criteria for mining, processing, and transporting silica sand. These standards and criteria may be used by local units of government in developing local ordinances. The standards and criteria shall be different for different geographic areas of the state. The unique karst conditions and landforms of southeastern Minnesota shall be considered unique when compared with the flat scoured river terraces and uniform hydrology of the Minnesota Valley. The standards and criteria developed shall reflect those differences in varying regions of the state. The standards and criteria must include:

(1)  recommendations for setbacks or buffers for mining operation and processing, including:

(i)   any residence or residential zoning district boundary

(ii)  any property line or right-of-way line of any existing or proposed street or highway

(iii) ordinary high water levels of public waters

(iv) bluffs

(v)  designated trout streams, Class 2A water as designated in the rules of the Pollution Control Agency, or any perennially flowing tributary of a designated trout stream or Class 2A water

(vi) calcareous fens

(vii)wellhead protection areas as defined in section 103I.005

(viii)critical natural habitat acquired by the commissioner of natural resources under section 84.944

(ix) a natural resource easement paid wholly or in part by public funds

(2)   standards for hours of operation

(3)   groundwater and surface water quality and quantity monitoring and mitigation plan requirements, including:

(i)   applicable groundwater and surface water appropriation permit requirements

(ii)  well sealing requirements

(iii) annual submission of monitoring well data

(iv) storm water runoff rate limits not to exceed two-, ten-, and 100-year storm events

(4)   air monitoring and data submission requirements

(5)   dust control requirements

(6)   noise testing and mitigation plan requirements

(7)   blast monitoring plan requirements

(8)   lighting requirements

(9)   inspection requirements

(10) containment requirements for silica sand in temporary storage to protect air and water quality

(11) containment requirements for chemicals used in processing

(12) financial assurance requirements

(13) road and bridge impacts and requirements

(14) reclamation plan requirements as required under the rules adopted by the  commissioner of natural resources


EQB taking public input October 18 - November 12
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board
Publication Date: 
October 17, 2013