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Tarmac officials visit Cedar Key

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By Ada Lang

Officials of Tarmac King Road Mine company
met with representatives of Cedar Key's clamming
industry on Monday afternoon at the Marine
Lab to discuss water quality issues.
Tarmac requested this meeting to address concerns
raised at a previous meeting in Cedar Key.
Al Townsend, director of real estate and environmental
services, and Jeff Harris, plant manager
for the mine near Inglis, were accompanied by
two consulting hydrologists.
Leslie Sturmer, UF/IFAS Shellfish
Aquaculture Extension Agent; City
Commissioner Sue Colson, former Suwannee
River Water Management District board member
and project coordinator for the Cedar Key
Aquaculture Association, and Interm City
Administrator Greg Lang, of Cedar Key met with
the group.
The Cedar Key representatives began by
telling Tarmac something they have heard before
— the economic impact the clamming industry
has locally and nationally.
The primary concern of the Cedar Key group
is what affect the series of freshwater lakes left by
the mining will have on the water quality in the
Gulf of Mexico — which is only 3 miles from the
site — as the crow flies. The lakes will not be
lined, and the porous nature of the rock below
leaves concerns over leaching into the aquifer,
ground water and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.
The freshwater could have a negative impact on
the salinity, turbidity and phytoplankton communities
that are vital for healthy clam growth.
Tarmac officials said berms will be built
around the lakes to ensure that surface contamination
does not make its way into the rock, which
is used primarily in construction. The area will be
mined at the rate of 25 acres per year and 12 acres
per year will be restored to its natural state.
Company officials also indicated that it will be
one of the greenest quarries ever — no diesel
trucks will be used osite — thereby cutting carbon
emissions and pollution. Instead, the rock will be
transported on conveyor belts and only native
vegetation will be planted during the restoration
process.
There will be test wells at the actual mine site,
however Sturmer and Colson made clear that
baseline water quality data needs to be established
and that Tarmac needs to plan for additional
sampling in the Gulf waters as the project continues.
The meeting ended with a consensus that additional
water sampling and dialogue are needed.