30-acre shale mine approved for Redland Brick in Williamsport

April 08, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Washington County Planning Commission on Monday approved an additional shale mining area for Redland Brick Inc.

The company will open a new, 30-acre surface mine next to its existing mining area on Md. 68 in Williamsport.

The expansion is needed to continue mining because the current 40-acre shale extraction area will be depleted in a year or two, said Barry Miller, a safety, environment and quality manager for Redland Brick.

The company does surface mining for shale to make brick.

No blasting will be done at the site, Washington County Planner Lisa Kelly said.

County setback regulations require the quarry to be at least 200 feet from all residences.

Redland Brick has 150 employees at the site; none will be added with the expansion, Kelly said.

Because the land is already zoned for mining, no public hearing is required for the expansion, Washington County Planning Director Michael C. Thompson said.


Miller said the company digs between 10 feet and 40 feet into the ground to extract shale at the site.

When mining areas are depleted, the land is evened out and reclaimed with topsoil, grasses and trees, Miller said.

"It's not your big quarry with 400-foot pits," Miller said.

The company has applied to the Maryland Department of Environment for a permit to expand their surface mine to the proposed area.

In a letter to the county, MDE Mining Program Manager C. Edmon Larrimore said the state has no problems with the expansion.

The planning commission approved a similar site plan for Redland Brick in November 2001.

That site plan allowed the company to expand its surface mine to its existing, 40-acre property.

Miller said the new site should last more than 13 years but said that number could vary greatly.

Redland Brick occupies 267 acres on the property, Kelly said.

It has mined on the site since 1872, Miller said.

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