THE BURLINGTON FREE PRESS
THURSDAY, AUGUST 7,1997
Omya plan raises traffic concerns
The Associated Press
FLORENCE - Concerns about increased truck traffic might slow plans by Omya Inc. to expand its calcium carbonate manufacturing operations in Vermont.
The company applied for a state land-use permit last week for a $6.8 million expansion, but the District Environmental Com-mission coordinator for the re-gion has ruled that more information is needed on traffic before the application can move for-ward.
The commission needs to know how the expansion would increase the number of trucks traveling on U.S. 7. The Omya plant is a short distance off the highway, north of Rutland.
The calcium carbonate that Omya produces is a mineral used in the manufacture of paint, paper, plastics, chemicals and phar-maceuticals.
The company's planned 21,000-square-foot expansion 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 subject of a separate Act 250 application.
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 - would tear up roads, create safety concerns and decrease their quality of life.
District I Coordinator Wil-liam Burke has asked Omya to provide additional information about how many trucks have passed in and out during the first six months this year. He also asked the company "to itemize the number of loads to and from its quarries in Middlebury, Brandon, Florence and South Wallingford.
In addition to the 85 daily round-trips from its Middlebury quarry, Omya is authorized to make 20 trips a day from its Smokerise quarry in Brandon and 40 trips a day from its Hogback quarry in Florence. The South Wallingford quarry is not limited.