St. Charles residents discuss possible frac sand processing cent - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

St. Charles residents discuss possible frac sand processing center

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ST. CHARLES, Minn. (KTTC) -- Frac sand continues to be the center of controversy for several cities in southeastern Minnesota, including St. Charles.

About 100 people gathered at Faith Lutheran Church on Wednesday night to discuss a proposed frac sand processing center.

Farm2Rail is planning a multi-loop rail car loading facility on 300 acres of land by Cherokee Road.

Cherokee Road neighbors organized the meeting to help inform the public.

"Our number one objective is to raise awareness in our community about the impact this project will have in changing really the context of our entire community, from a sense of how it might be after the sand washing plant is here," said Fred Troendle, who lives on Cherokee Road.

Frac sand is used to remove fuel from underground rock in a process called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

Frac sand mining would not take place in St. Charles.

Instead, there would be a sand washing and loading plant, as well as a grain drying and loading facility.

"It will happen from 6 o'clock in the morning until 9 o'clock at night, six days a week," Troendle said.

Besides noise and traffic concerns, there's the possibility of air and ground water pollution as well as health risks.

However, Farm2Rail's Project Engineer Geoff Griffin says all activity would be under roof.

It could also provide more businesses with rail access.

"It would have an impact on our community and that's some of the things that we're trying to mitigate at this point. That's why we're still in the preliminary stages," said St. Charles Mayor Bill Spitzer.

City officials skipped annexing the property into the city for now.

They are first going to do an environmental assessment worksheet.

If the plan is approved, construction could start as early as next year.

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