Harford Sands Inc., a Joppa sand and gravel mining company, is one step away from getting a new state operating permit that will allow the company to correct discharge violations at its facility.
The Department of the Environment announced Thursday that it will grant changes to Harford Sands' 5-year-old permit, pending appeals by any opponents to the company's plans.
The modifications to the permit allow Harford Sands to relocate adischarge outlet that the company says was put in the wrong place under the terms of its 1986 permit.
The outlet's location, combined with runoff from surrounding properties, overburdened the company's existing discharge treatment system and caused the violations, HarfordSands officials said.
The new permit will require the company to continue monitoring any discharge that might seep out of the company's discharge outlet once the new system is in operation, DOE spokesmanJohn Goheen said.
Harford Sands has mined and processed industrial sand and gravel on a 79-acre site at 40 Fort Hoyle Road for 49 years. The company is headed by Larry G. Stancill and his wife, Dorothy.
Harford Sands will have to wait until March 22 before it formally receives the permit. Anyone opposed to the new permit has until that date to request a hearing to appeal the department's decision, Goheensaid.
Meanwhile, Harford Sands is continuing to fight a state order, issued last Nov. 9, that requires the company to pay $16,500 in fines for 25 sediment discharge violations that occurred in 1988.
The company was fined for exceeding the state's limits for turbidity and total suspended solids.
Harford Sands has asked Harford CircuitCourt to dismiss the fines. The state is asking the court to deny that request.
"To the contrary, (Harford Sands) will suffer great harm if this court does not review the final decision of the Secretary of the Environment in this matter," a company attorney wrote in opposition to the state's motion.
"Significant error was made in the decision, which requires judicial review," said the attorney, Robert B.Scarlett of Baltimore.
A court hearing on the state's motion to dismiss the appeal is scheduled for May 20.
The dispute involves sediment runoff from the company's mining operation into an unnamed stream that flows into Reardon Inlet. The inlet, which is on the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, feeds into the Gunpowder River. The Gunpowder flows into Chesapeake Bay.