How are gravel pits permitted and regulated in Mississippi? - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

How are gravel pits permitted and regulated in Mississippi?

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
COPIAH COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As people continue to search for the missing gravel pit workers, we started asking questions about the regulations on sites like those. 

MDEQ issued the first permit for the site in 1997. It was transferred to Green Brothers in 2008. And just last year, they added 1.5 acres to the permit.

"At this site there's not been any violations as far as I'm aware of regarding surface mining," said James Matheny, MDEQ Director of Mining and Reclamation.

Matheny's division is where permits for sites like the one being searched originate.

"I've never seen anything like this in my 17-18 years," Matheny noted. "Nothing like this."

The almost 700 surface mining sites in the state are checked once a year by MDEQ.

"In this case, like I said, an accident happened on the surface mine and we issue the surface mining permits in the state and we feel like it was appropriate to come out here," added Matheny.

Safety isn't part of MDEQ's annual checks. That falls under another agency. They instead check things like whether they're in compliance for size and depth of where they're excavating.

"Some operations simply excavate from the ground and put it directly on the truck for sale," he explained. Others will wash the gravel. When you do wash the gravel, you'll end up with the sand water slurry. They do wash gravel here at Green Brothers."

But that isn't an automatic red flag.

"We don't find that we find any more violations were they wash the gravel versus where they don't wash the gravel," Matheny described. "It's a matter of whether they have the controls in place or not."

MDEQ told us the Green Brother's site was scheduled to begin reclamation this month, meaning they would start returning the land to the way they found it.

The Federal Mining Safety and Health Administration is also on site. They are another agency responsible for periodic checks of sites like these.

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