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Utah regulators are ordering a company operating a gravel mine at Point of the Mountain, straddling the Salt Lake County-Utah County line, to halt work outside of its permitted area.
"The Division [of Oil, Gas and Mining, or DOGM] is going to issue a cessation order to Geneva Rock, but it just covers the area outside their permitted area," agency spokeswoman Hollie Brown said Wednesday.
"We have looked at the map, and it was decided that they are mining just outside of the permitted area, so there will be the cessation order. So they can still mine, just not in the area in question," Brown said. "They'll have to stop until they are in compliance."
Geneva had a permit on the Utah County side of the mine but crossed into a Salt Lake County portion, where it is not permitted, Brown said.
A spokesman for Geneva Rock had no comment Wednesday.
The mining regulatory agency began looking into the Point of the Mountain gravel operations in response to a Draper resident's allegations that Geneva Rock was operating outside the authorized area.
Adrian Dybwad, an opponent of the company's pending request to rezone a 189-acre area to expand its existing gravel pit, says Geneva Rock has gone beyond agreements it made with the state in 2009 and Lehi in 2011.
Dybwad, after reviewing maps and other records, said he believed the company was mining the north side of the old Radio Tower Mountain, an area he describes as north of the boundaries set by Lehi and east of boundaries on the Salt Lake County side.
The company denied it was conducting any unauthorized mining.
Dybwad appeared before the state air quality board during a Wednesday board meeting to relay his concerns about the dust and its potential to contribute to both the state's ongoing struggle to meet federal standards for particulate pollution and related health risks. The dust, he said, was thought to contain elevated levels of arsenic and uranium and posed significant health risks. But the Utah Division of Air Quality has no monitors in the area to determine the level of pollution coming off of the mine.
Bo Call, an air monitoring manager for the agency, confirmed there is no monitoring station in the area.
"We have never sampled around Point of the Mountain for particulate matter," he told the air quality board.
Call said the department is looking at the possibility of setting up an air monitoring station in Bluffdale.
Dybwad called on the board to amend existing air quality rules to require mining operations to cease operations or mitigate dust pollution by wetting loose material or by other means during times of high winds to protect the airshed.
Meanwhile, Draper has scheduled a Nov. 10 public hearing on the gravel-pit rezoning and expansion issue.
Some residents have complained about the proposed expansion because of concerns of airborne silica dust from the operation, as well as fears that the work could alter mountain wind currents at a flight park popular with hang gliders and paragliders.
Brown, the public information officer for DOGM, said the cessation order is the only consequence of the company's unauthorized operations presently, but that there also could be a fine.
"But Geneva Rock does have the opportunity for appeal," she noted. "So if they do not agree with our decision or our findings, they can come back and appeal that."
Brent Sumsion, a representative of Geneva Rock, said Tuesday, before DOGM announced the order, the company has not mined outside of permitted boundaries. He told the Draper Planning Commission on Sept. 10 that the company is working within its authorized area as he presented Geneva Rock's rezoning request, and he affirmed that Tuesday.
Contacted Wednesday by The Tribune, he had no comment.
Draper Mayor Troy Walker blocked public comment from about 30 residents on the gravel-pit expansion proposal at a Sept. 15 City Council meeting, saying the issue was not on the agenda and not properly before the council.
But Draper's Nov. 10 public hearing at the City Council meeting will include information addressing concerns on air quality, a conservation easement for land preservation, historical rights to run sand and gravel operations, and potential impacts on wind patterns.
Draper City Manager David Dobbins said in an interview last week that the city was "not aware" of any violations by Geneva Rock, but "if someone has any information that they are [in violation], then we would certainly work with the state to resolve that matter."