Old Lyme Loosens Restrictions, Orders Quarry Owner to Restore Wetlands Along Three Mile River

Old Lyme's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission ordered quarry owner Ron Swaney to cease prohibited operations and to appear at a show cause hearing on March 7 (CT Examiner)


TwitterFacebookCopy LinkPrintEmail

OLD LYME — At Thursday night’s show cause hearing, the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission revised a Feb 28 cease and desist order on a quarry on Three Mile River by adding stipulations to allow the owner limited vehicular travel on the site and work in the interior area at least 100 feet from wetlands and watercourses. 

Ron Swaney, owner and operator of a quarry at 308-1 Mile Creek Road and an adjoining parcel at 304 Mile Creek Road, was also ordered to hire a soil scientist, Donald Fortunato of Soil & Environmental Services in East Lyme, to identify the wetlands on the site and to specify the areas on the site that require restoration after Swaney performed unpermitted work.  

Fortunato’s report will also need to address the six issues listed on the cease and desist order:

  1. Clear cutting within 100’ of a wetlands or watercourse at 304 Mile Creek Road.

  2. Deposition of materials and grading, smoothing and compacting of materials along the dirt roadway leading from the entrance of 308-1 Mile Creek Road to the interior of the site.

  3. Removal of an outcropping of material located adjacent to the culvert draining the Three Mile River under the dirt roadway.

  4. Placement of fill and creation of a berm along the eastern side of the dirt roadway within 100’ of the Three Mile River.

  5. Insufficient and inadequate erosion control measures leading to siltation in ponds located on the site.

  6. Placement of boulders and other large rocks within the banks of the Three Mile River.

Fortunato’s report will outline the location of the watercourses and wetlands on the site and will recommend how to improve the site and install proper erosion controls, which Swaney will be required to implement. The commission said it would like that report by March 26th, the date of its next meeting. 

Swaney will also be required to propose a restoration plan and submit a permit for any activity on the site no later than the commission’s April 23rd meeting. 

A third condition of the order requires Fortunato to report back to the commission on how Swaney is addressing the six concerns in the cease and desist order. 

Swaney told the commission that he needed vehicular access along the dirt roadway to the interior area on the 43.5-acre property where he operates machinery in the quarry. 

Commission member Mike Miller said the concern was trucks driving back and forth across the dirt road where unnatural materials like plastic had been observed. 

“We don’t want to put you out of business, obviously. But we don’t want that roadway being used more than needs to be,” said Miller.

Michael Aurelia, a member of the commission, urged board members to hire an engineer and begin installing erosion controls immediately, but Miller said that the soil scientist needed to provide direction about where and how to install the controls otherwise further damage could take place.  

After the meeting, Eric Knapp, the town’s land use coordinator and wetlands agent, clarified that while Swaney is allowed to operate 100 feet away from wetlands and watercourses – areas accessible by the dirt road – those areas have yet to be precisely determined by the soil scientist.