In the continuing saga of sand mining on the East and West Forks of the San Jacinto, I present the results of my January 20, 2020, flyover. I found three breaches and two near breaches between I-45 and the East Fork. See below.
Liberty Materials Mine in Conroe
Let’s start upriver on the San Jacinto West Fork near Conroe. These first two images come from the Liberty Materials Mine that the TCEQ cited for allegedly discharging 56 million gallons of white slime into the river.
There sure is a lot riding on that little spit of sand. If this one blows out, I pray the TCEQ and Attorney General goes after them for gross negligence. How could they ignore this?
Hallett Mine in Porter
The next two shots come from the Hallett Mine in Porter. They show the same issue from two different angles.
Abandoned Mine in Porter
Triple PG Sand Mine in Porter on Caney Creek
The Attorney General is suing this mine for breaches that remained open for months after the May floods last year. Currently, the mine is operating (but not dredging) under a temporary injunction until the case goes to trial on June 22. While mine owners have closed other breaches on White Oak and Caney Creeks, this breach remains open. Technically, it doesn’t connect with with river until a flood. But during floods, photographic evidence shows that Caney Creek reroutes itself through the mine, raising pressure that causes dikes in other places to collapse.
The shot below shows headward erosion toward five pipelines carrying highly volatile liquids.
Such breaches and near breaches create a good argument for creating minimum setbacks for mines from the creeks and rivers that supply our drinking water.
Sadly, legislation that could have done that died in committee during the last session. But there’s always next year. I will continue to monitor how well the mines do until new measures can be reintroduced. Pressure is building throughout the state to control air and water pollution from aggregate mines.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/12/2020
897 Days since Hurricane Harvey
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