A new threat to a neighborhood located 4 miles south of the intersection of County Line Road and U.S. 41 in Spring Hill has emerged from limestone mining interests.
What: 7 Diamonds LLC submitted an application to Pasco County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL-DEP) to mine for sand and limerock on 294 acres of agricultural lands six days a week for the next 25 years on property at 16303 U.S. Highway 41 in Spring Hill, Florida. To surrounding this property is a community of nearly a two hundred single family homes. The footprint of the new mine would be 143 acres–nearly 4 times as large as the current Lago Verde Mine to the south and east of this area that is involved in litigation with an appeal pending on behalf of local residents. It will provide no more than 10 new jobs.
When: Seven Diamonds, LLC is holding a community meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to discuss the Application for Mine Operating Permit and Conditional Use.
Where: New Beginnings Family Church, 18935 Michigan Lane, Spring Hill, FL 34610. Contact phone: 813-992-5210. Located ¼ mile north of State Road 52 on U.S. 41.
Who: You! Please plan to attend and speak out. This mine should not be allowed. Like the long ago meeting with Lago Verde, I am sure they are going to tell everyone that it will be just fine. They lied, it has not been fine. But unless the permitting agents hear from the public, they will approve the new mine and our lives will be forever impacted.
Why: Anticipated Impact of New Mine, if approved:This new mine would threaten underground sources of drinking water. Limestone mining is proposed 90 feet below the water table in an area located within the Weeki Wachee Springshed. The application erroneously states that “Site is not located in a karst-sensitive area or springshed, and no public supply wellfields are located within 0.5 mile radius of the site.” Plus, there is a well on the property and another one 1.5 miles away at the Cross Bar Ranch Well Field
- More mining would generate more heavy trucks on U.S. 41 in the area, endangering other traffic including school buses and commuters from Hernando County.
- Residents would experience increased frequency and intensity of blasting. Homes that have felt previous blasts at Lago Verde Mine will feel the blasts at 7 Diamonds. Detonations at Lago Verde has not reached anywhere near the intensity planned and needed for this new mine. A buffer of just 500 feet is proposed between residences and open pit mining activities.
- Health risks from additional dust and fumes would increase. One blast at Lago Verde produced a large cloud of nitrious oxide and nitrious dioxide, both known to be serious health risks. The county says it is dust, but experts disagree. More dust will only further increase health threats.
- Local Water Supplies would be at risk. At least one neighbor to the north reported sand in his well since the beginning of blasting at Lago Verde. More wells in the area will be compromised jeopardizing local supplies of drinking water. The application states that “Rinsing and final screening of the limestone will be conducted on site at a centrally-located screen plant. Water for the screen plant will be sourced from the mine pit. Underflow from the screen plant will be directed back to the mine pit for settling, reuse, and recharge to the aquifer.”
- Neighborhoods near Buzzard Lake could be flooded. 7 Diamonds plans to mine to the southern border of its property less a 200 foot buffer. Within the southern 60 acres is a large part of Buzzard Lake. The northern portion of the lake is the deepest and stores the most water. If that storage is compromised, the lake would overflow and flood the neighborhood.
- The entire footprint of the 7 Diamonds mine is included in a Class A flood zone and is inappropriate for mining. The miners plan to route all stormwater to mine pits. But if even a portion of the area is mined, the entire 7 Diamonds area property will be flooded. The FL-DEP application claims the mined property can handle a 25-year, 24-hour rain event, but this area just experienced a 500-year event. 25’ berms are planned around the 7 wetlands and Lake Buzzard. The berms planned would force water into Crews Lake, which has been mostly dry for many years and Jumping Gully, insuring that more water would flood into these residential areas.
- The property is home to endangered gopher tortoises, a keystone species that lives in habitat that is also shared by many other valuable species in Florida that would be disturbed. Plans to relocate them ignor associated habitat and species loss that cause collateral damage.
Neighbors Against Mining is opposed to this new mine because it is in the wrong location, adjacent to so many residents whose quality of life, health, water supplies and welfare will be irretrievably negatively impacted. Property values will be further reduced and the agricultural nature of the existing land use destroyed in exchange for 25 years of open pit industrial mining.
The need for such a new mine has not been demonstrated by the applicants. The public interest should be weighed in any decision to allow another massive mine at a time when the recently begun Lago Verde mine nearby that was approved in 2012 is still in litigation. Despite an appeal, that mine was allowed to proceed with mining despite impacts to this same community.
It would indeed be unfair to nearby residents if they were subjected to yet more mining in the neighborhood before the recently begun mining at Lago Verde is legitimized by the courts. At a minimum, this application should be postponed until a final decision is made on Lago Verde since it will have such a great bearing on the implications and suitability of mining in this area of the new 7 Diamonds application.
Local resident Robert Howell brought this to our attention. “The expansion of mining in our area will impact our neighborhood with flooding, more noise and dust, and further disturb the wildlife in the Jumping Gully Preserve. That Preserve was purchased by the County for $2.1 million dollars for the enjoyment of all residents in Pasco County. How can that Preserve be enjoyed when this mine will be its northern and eastern border?
We encourage everyone to take the time to attend the community meeting on January 19th. We’ll see you there! For more information, go to http://www.neighborsagainstmining.org where the permit narrative, map and drawings and FL-DEP application materials are posted. Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mahoney Drive 1998 flooding
The full FL-DEP application and site plans are too large to load here. If you want them, email email@example.com and we will provide them to you.