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Medina's SW Johns files for TCEQ air quality permit

By Carol L. Smith

SW Johnson Construction Company, currently operating a sand, gravel and road base supply and road construction company at 225 Villa Medina Road in Medina, recently applied for a air quality permit for a permanent rock and concrete crusher with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

Comment period commenced
The public notice was listed in a local newspaper on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and the TCEQ executive director will approve or deny the application no later than 30 days after the end of a public comment period. The public may comment on the application for 30 days from the date of the public notice, making the end date for comment Wednesday, Feb. 17.

After that date, TCEQ must consider all relevant written comments and give a written response to each. Responses, along with the director’s decision on the application, will be mailed to everyone who submits a comment and asks to be added to the mailing list.

The director will base his decision on whether the application meets all the requirements of the standard permit. There is no opportunity for a formal meeting or to request a hearing for this permit. A standard permit does not provide the opportunity to request a contested case hearing.

The application is available for viewing and copying at the TCEQ Central office in Austin or at the TCEQ Regional Office, 14250 Judson Road in San Antonio.

Written public comments on the application must be submitted to:
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105
PO Box 13087
Austin, Texas 78711-3087
Or comments can be submitted electronically at www.tceq.state.tx.us/about/comments.

When submitting comments, refer to the air quality registration number 91186.

According to a representative of SW Johnson Construction Company, the company has been operating a portable rock crusher at the site since 1987. However, it’s in a permanent location, unable to be moved.

Questions specific to the permit and application where referred to Monique Wells, owner of CIC Environmental Services in Austin, which is listed with the TCEQ as an “EnvironMentor.” An EnvironMentor is defined as an environmental consultant that volunteers to assist small businesses with compliance issues.

CIC offers environmental consulting for all aspects of permitting for air, water, and waste in addition to Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans, Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC), Pollution Prevention Plans (P-2), Annual Waste Summary, and Environmental Management Systems (EMS). CIC also performs site audits and training to ensure compliance with Federal and State regulations.

Lakehills TCEQ meeting
At the request of Senator Carlos Uresti and the office of State Representative Tracy King, TCEQ officials will attend an informal meeting concerning an air quality permit for a permanent rock crusher in Medina County at 7 pm, Tuesday, Feb 9, at the Lakehills Civic Center, 11225 Park Road 37 in Lakehills.

The permit for the rock crusher in Medina County is the same type of permit application applied for by SW Johnson Construction Company. TCEQ’s Mike Gould and Alex Berksan from the air quality permit division and Amy Browning of the legal staff will attend, along with two or three employees of the Office of Public Assistance.

Zumwalt Construction of Bexar County applied for the permit in Medina County to allow a rock crusher to be placed on a 600-acre tract of land off FM 1283. This is the same company that TCEQ officials cited for a large mulch fire in Helotes ignited on Christmas Day 2006.

Residents of Ranchland Oaks, Bear Springs Ranch and other surrounding subdivisions have complained to TCEQ and elected officials about the permitting of another quarry in the area. Currently nine quarries operate within a five-mile radius in that section of Medina County.

Medina County residents’ concerns center around health, safety and traffic hazards, including noise, dust, heavy truck traffic, loss of property value, high water use from the Trinity Aquifer and possible contamination of the Edwards Aquifer.

Matt Bellos of Westward Environmental Company represents Zumwalt Construction Water usage estimates for the quarry is projected to be about 1,300 gallons a day or 500,000 gallons annually. However, other quarries in the area have reported water usage as high as 2,000,000 gallons annually.

Calls to Precinct 3 Commissioner Richard Keese and Wells for this article were not returned by press time.