OMYA's Plans Hinge on Traffic
By Bruce Edwards - 8-5-97
OMYA, Inc.'s plans to expand its calcium
carbonate business in Vermont has hit another possibly
snag over truck traffic.
OMYA last week filed an Act 250 application for a
$6.8 million expansion of its Florence calcium
carbonate plant. But the coordinator for the District
1 Environmental Commission has determined the
application is incomplete because the company failed
to provide sufficient information on the number of
trucks that enter and leave the plant, which is
situated a short distance from busy Route 7.
The company's planned 21,000 square-foot
expansion of its Verpol plant in Florence coincides
with plans to double production at its Middlebury
quarry. The doubling of the number of marble ore
trucks from 85 to 170 round-trips a day is the object
of a separate Act 250 application currently under
The issue of truck traffic has raised the
concerns of Brandon residents and business owners who
argue that additional OMYA trucks - each loaded with
a maximum of 22 tons of marble ore passing through
town - will adversely affect the intrastructure,
safety and their quality of life.
In a letter faxed to OMYA's lawyer on Monday,
District 1 Coordinator William T. Burke requested that
OMYA provide additional information and submit an
affidavit "of the daily truck loads of ore feedstock
and finishes product into and out of the Florence
plant between July 1, 1997 and July 31, 1997."
The letter also asks OMYA in its affidavit "to
itemize the number of loads to and from" its quarries
in Middlebury, Brandon, Florence and South
In addition to the 85 daily round-trips from its
Middlebury quarry, OMYA is currently authorized to
make 20 trips a day from its Smoke Rise Quarry in
Brandon and 40 trips a day from its Hogback quarry in
Florence. The South Wallingford quarry is not
limited. However, the company stated in its
application that the plant currently receives an
average of two truck loads a day.
Burke also noted in his letter that OMYA ships
one-third of its finished product by truck, but no
truck trip totals were included in its application.
In addition, Burke also wants OMYA to provide the
An estimate of the total number of "turning
movements" and all commercial traffic at the
intersection of Route 7 and the Florence Truck Route.
One turning movement takes place when a vehicle turns
onto Route 7 and another when a vehicle turns off
The hours of truck operation at the plant.
The number of employees who work at the plant.
Clarification on increased water usage from 140
gallons per minute to 200 gallons per minute and
whether new wells will be required.
Identification of the "new products" the company
intends to produce at the expanded facility.
But for Burke the real issue is the impact on
increased truck traffic.
"We're already aware that there are significant
concerns particularly in the Town of Brandon from
truck traffic and our (Act 250) Criteria 5 and 9k
require the commission review both impacts under
traffic and public investments," Burke said Monday
According to OMYA's application, the expansion
includes a new 3,000 square-foot rail car washing
facility, an 8,500 square foot addition to its tank
farm for holding finished slurry product, and a 10,000
square-foot addition to its plant which would allow
the company to increase capacity by 20 percent.
Because the plant is highly automated, the
company said in its application that the expansion
would not result in the hiring of additional workers.
OMYA, a subsidiary of Pluess Staufer AG of
Switzerland, is the world's largest producer of ground
calcium carbonate. The mineral is used in the
manufacture of paint, paper, plastics, chemicals and
A phone message left for Edward van Schwiebert,
OMYA's lawyer, was not immediately returned Monday.