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Pattison Sand Company Fact Sheet

By Timothy Adkins 14 June, 2016

Economic Impact of Pattison Sand Company (PSC)


FACT:   With 229 employees in 2015 and a payroll in excess of $16 million, PSC is the largest employer in Clayton County.


FACT:   As a result of PSC operations, Local Direct Vendor spending in 2015 (including Clayton, Allamakee, Fayette, Crawford and Grant Counties) totaled $27.8 million.


FACT:   PSC tax dollars provide direct financial support to Clayton County Schools.


FACT:   For every 3 jobs at PSC, 1 additional local job is created.


FACT:   Total economic impact to the area is $306.8 million (Induced and Direct Sectors multipliers are 7, consistent with Clayton County Economic Development)

Pattison Sand Company Regulatory Compliance


FACT:   The PSC operation is regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), Metal Non-Metal (M/NM) Division.  Because PSC operates two underground mines, our operations are required to be inspected by MSHA once each quarter (4 times per year), with each inspection lasting approximately 3 weeks. Comparatively, surface operations are only inspected 2 times per year. (Source: Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977)  PSC partners with MSHA in providing a safe and healthy work environment for its employees.


FACT:   In the past 2 years, the PSC violations per inspection day (VPID) rate has been notably lower than that of its industry counterparts.  PSC operations currently have a VPID rate of 0.41 as compared to the industry average of 0.67. (Source: MSHA web page)  On average, PSC operations have been issued approximately 40% less MSHA citations per inspection day than its industry counterparts.


FACT:   In the past 2 years, the PSC injury severity measure has been significantly lower than its industry counterparts.  The current PSC severity measure is 48.9, compared to the underground M/NM rate of 251.8. (Source: MSHA web page)  The PSC injury severity measure is approximately 80% lower than the industry average, indicating that the PSC operations are safer than the majority of its counterparts.


Air Quality:


FACT:   Based upon results of a study conducted at a surface sand mine near New Auburn, WI, residents around the operation were at “low risk” of being effected by airborn particulate matter from the mine, including crystalline silica (Source: Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Iowa in a presentation to the Clayton County Mine Reserve Expansion Study Committee on April 28, 2016.)


FACT:   The surface area of the PSC sand storage is only 7.7% of the surface area of sand at the studied New Auburn, WI surface mine that posed a “low risk” for ambient air concerns.  Additionally, PSC covers its sand storage piles with a tachifier(as shown below) that creates a seal on the surface of the piles, further minimizing the possibility of sand particles becoming airborne. With a surface area of only 7.7% of that at the studied WI mine, coupled with the use of the tachifier being applied to the PSC sand piles, Clayton County is at an even lower risk of ambient air issues than the low risk New Auburn, WI area.


FACT:   During May 2016, PSC voluntarily applied 50,000 gallons of tachifier on its sand storage piles. There are no regulatory statutes that require PSC to apply the coating to its storage piles.



FACT:   PSC voluntarily conducted airborne respirable dust samples upwind and downwind from its mine site and in the immediate area surrounding its operation including Clayton and Guttenberg, Iowa.  The samples were collected using MSHA-approved dust monitors, following established NIOSH sampling protocol, and sent to Galson Laboratories, a third party, nationally-accredited laboratory for analysis.  The results clearly indicated that the total respirable dust and silica concentrations were significantly lower than any regulatory action level.  Further, the results clearly indicated insignificant differences between total respirable dust and silica in the sample nearest its mine site and at the Clayton and Guttenberg, IA locations.



FACT:   In regard to PSC ambient air monitoring results, a recent Iowa Department of Public Health report states that “the highest level for respirable dust is below the EPA NAAQS for PM10 and would be considered to not cause adverse health impacts to people exposed at this level.”  This health standard level is intended to provide public health protection, including protecting the health of "sensitive" populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly.


Water Quality:


FACT:   “If you just come in and dig sand out, there is very little risk to the water.” A single frac sand mine would pose no more threat to the environment than a gravel quarry or standard sand pit. (Bob Libra, Iowa State Geologist, as quoted in the Decorah Gazette.)


FACT:   Following water sampling at various locations around the PSC site, the amounts of acrylamide in the samples were found to be at or near “non-detectable” levels. (PSC recycles over 90% of the water used on its site.)


Employee Health


FACT:   PSC conducts regular health checks on employees, including but not limited to annual pulmonary function tests and respirator fit tests, and additional medical evaluation if deemed necessary.  Additionally, PSC conducts ongoing respirable dust monitoring throughout all its workplaces and equipment cabs to identify and minimize potential exposures at their sources.  Respirable dust and silica are maintained at minimum levels throughout our workplaces, and the ambient air levels in the surrounding areas are even lower than the PSC workplace.

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 14:56
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