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Town of River Falls: Weigh in on frac-sand mining

The town of River Falls will hold a public hearing at 8 p.m. Monday, March 5, before passing a moratorium that will regulate frac-sand mining.

The town will work with its attorney, Bob Loberg, to develop a six-month moratorium.

This will give the town time to create laws to regulate the frac-sand mining industry in the town of River Falls, according to Town Clerk Ruth Stern.

The laws would regulate noise, dust, environmental impacts, and the use of roads.

Frac sand is sought out by oil mining companies in Texas and North Dakota for its ability to absorb and hold oil and natural gas. Most frac sand comes from the Midwest.

Also at its Feb. 6 regular meeting, the Town Board discussed and rejected installing dog control signs on 1020 Street at the request of resident Joe Covelli.

Covelli asked the town to put up signs reminding residents walking their dogs to pick up dog excrement along the street.

The board decided to deny this request.

"The response from this board is that since it's not a park, we are not willing to put up any signing since it's not a safety issue," said Town Board Chairwoman Diana Smith. "Mr. Covelli is free to pursue signage on his own property."

The board had another resident asking the town to collect old water heater tanks and old freezers recycled by other residents at the Town Hall, then donate these to Amish communities.

The Amish use the water heater tanks as storage containers and freezers as horse troughs, according to resident Carl McLagan.

The Town Board discussed the request from McLagan.

One factor to consider is the Freon contained in the freezers and liabilities the substance might pose. People now pay to have water heaters and freezers recycled.

The topic will be discussed again at the board's next meeting, Feb. 20.

Updates were also discussed about the tree removal along Happy Valley Road. The bulk of the trees were removed in just over two days with the cost so far totaling $4,700.

Brian Weber of the town's highway department asked the board's permission to hire JCE Tree Service for two more days of work removing more trees and using its bucket truck to finish trimming.

Weber is also asking for an extra day using the county's boom mower.

The board passed the motion to allow Weber these extra days to complete the tree removal.