So far, a proposal to gather sand and gravel from 40 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land on the east side of the Chaffee County Landfill has drawn no comments from the public.
The two-week scoping period for the project ends Tuesday, Dec. 1. As of Nov. 24, nobody had offered statements on the proposed operation, which would supply cover materials for the landfill. The purpose of the scoping process is to identify any alternatives or other information before the Bureau of Land Management prepares its Environmental Analysis (EA).
The draft EA is slated to take the month of December to develop, with a 30-day public comment period on it open through the month of January. Pending no delays or changes to the timeline, a final EA and record of decision are scheduled for February.
Chaffee County is planning to develop the 40 acres to expand its cover reserves at the landfill, located just south of Centerville on U.S. Highway 285. At least six inches of earthen material needs to be placed over exposed trash at the end of each working day, and sometimes the cover needs to be placed more than once a day if “nuisance conditions,” i.e., wind are present.
BLM spokesperson Brant Porter said the public tends to be more active with its responses once a draft EA is prepared, so it isn’t entirely unusual that the scoping period hadn’t seen public activity as of Nov. 24.
He also said that unlike other sand and gravel operations in Chaffee County that have seen considerable push back from the public, this project doesn’t require any materials processing.
“We aren’t seeing the same interest we’ve seen in other projects,” he said, adding that some of that may be because it’s a necessary county operation and not a for-profit venture.
He said about 10 acres would be in use at a time. Porter characterized the project as a borrow pit. “It’s not truly mining,” he said. A reclamation plan involves returning sections of roughly five acres at a time to a consistent slope of an approximate 3:1 ratio. The area would be seeded with state- and BLM-approved plants and returned to rangeland status.
The site would be accessed through the landfill.
To provide comments or review other information, including maps and project summary, visit https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2000061/570