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

Route 7.

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.