A county water district in California has filed an appeal against plans for a new asphalt plant, which it fears could contaminate drinking water.
Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) said that the facility near the Calaveras River was approved by local officials without its knowledge.
A water treatment plant that has an intake on the river is located a short distance downstream from the proposed plant.
An appeal letter submitted by Matt Weber, an attorney representing the water district, stated: "If the proposed asphalt plant is sited without appropriate public input, community notification and environmental review necessary for a project of this scale, the consequences could reasonably include but are not limited to, contamination of district drinking water sources in the Calaveras River."
According to local newspaper the Calaveras Enterprise, Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer said in a letter dated April 30 that "concrete mixing and batch plant, ready mix" is specified as a permitted industrial use in the county code. He concluded that the term "concrete" includes both asphalt and Portland cement-type concrete.
This decision means that Ford Construction, which already operates a quarry at the site, would not have to apply for a use permit which would require a public process in order to review possible environmental impacts.
MyValleySprings.com, a local advocacy group, has also filed an appeal against the plant.
"MyValleySprings.com is concerned that this seems to be happening with no public notification or input, no traffic studies or environmental review, no protections from possible risks to the Calaveras River water quality and local CCWD water supply, no rules or regulations governing additional truck traffic, noise, or asphalt plant operations," said Colleen Platt, secretary of the group, in an email to the Valley Springs News.