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After sludge spill, state senate candidate says time for fresh look at frac industry



It may be time to take a fresh look at the frac-sand mining industry in Wisconsin.

There certainly needs to be some sort of new evaluation based on the massive spill that sludged up the Trempealeau River this week, says Jon W. Schultz.

A Trempealeau County supervisor, who’s also running for state Senate this year. Schultz says the big operations like the Hi-Crush facility in Whitehall seem especially worrisome.

“The larger projects potentially are going to have the larger impacts in this kind of situation,” Schultz said.

Monday, approximately 10 million gallons of a silty sludge of sand and water washed into a tributary of the Trempealeau River from a processing pond at Hi-Crush.

A wall in the pond was intentionally breached in order to rescue a bulldozer operator that had submerged in the pond.

The orange-colored silty flow reached the Mississippi River on Wednesday.

“Something will be learned from this, one way or another, Schultz said.

Hard lessons for an industry still suffering from growing pains

“This is all new to people — new to the industry, new to us — and how to design these projects to prevent these things,” Schultz added..

Schultz watched uncomfortably Wednesday morning, as the orange ooze from the Trempealeau mixed with the brown of the Mississippi.

He hoped the effects on wildlife would be relatively minimal.

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