Colleen Supan
July 13, 2012

frac-sand plant

Photo by Jim Tittle/

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Glacier Sands, LLC recently obtained a conditional permit to build a 325-acre frac dry-sand plant and rail-loading facility directly across the street from Cochrane-Fountain City School in Fountain City, Wis. This not-too-uncommon-in-Wisconsin facility will be located between Kamrowski Road and Bensel Pond, and will be the main distribution center for frac-sand trucks mined in Buffalo County.

The school, which sits along the majestic Mississippi River, in the bluffs, is home to hundreds of pre-K through 12th-grade children and adolescents. The Cochrane-Fountain City School Board is currently attempting discussions with mining interests and government entities to talk about the possible effects of the daily transportation of tons of silica sand, which will be used for fracking in the state. An estimate of as many as 1,000 truck trips a day past the school is expected.

Silica sand is normally used for making glass and fiber-optics, as well as stoneware, porcelain and some cements. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, constant exposure to dust from silica sand has lead to an increase in lung and bladder cancers at specific mines. The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration states that “Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles has long been known to cause silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease.” The U.S. National Toxicology Program has stated that respirable crystalline silica is known to be a human carcinogen.

To get involved in the school meetings regarding the mine, visit the Cochrane-Fountain City School District website.

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