Hickory Underground Water Conservation District #1 held its regular meeting at its Brady office on Thursday, September 15. Unlike many of their hearings, a large group packed the meeting room to participate in the board's discussion of Proppant Specialists, LLC's request to permit seven wells at their proposed Katemcy sand mining operation. Approximately forty to fifty visitors from Katemcy and Pontotoc were in attendance, as well as half a dozen individuals representing Proppant.The Hickory board was very patient in allowing extensive comment from those present. Mulitple concerns were expressed by the visitors regarding preservation of water quality, long-term impact on the aquifer of mining activities and the methods used by the District to make their decisions. Caroline Runge, Consulting Manager for Hickory, and David Huie, Manager, responded to the bulk of the questions from the group.Some of the primary concerns raised during discussion were:- What is the risk of groundwater contamination inside the pits from the equipment used in the mining, and how is that quality monitored?- As the large quantities of sand are removed and transported elsewhere, what effect occurs to the ability of the aquifer recharge process to filter and remove contaminants, both natural and man made.- Though Proppant's request is for just over 400 acre feet per year (a reduction from the 800 acre feet that the wells on the property had been permitted for under agricultural use), how does that use actually affect surrounding water levels?- Though Proppant has requested permits for seven wells to meet its water needs, why is the water that flows into the open pit mines and pumped out not counted against their permitted totals, and how is that water used in the process.- The settling ponds used to hold the water for recycling are not, according to available information, lined, thus implying that water containing sediments and particulate matter can travel back into the aquifer.Mason County's representative on the Hickory, Larry Lehmberg, protested that the Mason County contingent had not allowed the Proppant representatives an opportunity to make their case; but, after a few brief remarks, their legal counsel had advised them to not make any comments.The board discussed the required legal timeframe in which they must make a final decision, and agreed that there was still time to discuss the item before taking a vote. Mr. Huie then addressed the Proppant group and asked them if a delay would impact them financially. They replied that it will require some changes in their schedule; but, is not a significant financial factor.A motion was made and seconded to allow further research and discovery time for both groups until a special meeting on October 6, at which time they will make their final decision on the requested permits. The only vote to not allow the continuation of the process was cast by Mason's representative, Mr. Lehmberg.The October 6 meeting will be held at Hickory's office on the north side of the Brady square. Most of their meetings are scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and that information will be published in the News as soon as it is available.