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P&Q Profile: GZA’s Mark Krumenacher

By |  June 10, 2021
Photo: Mark Krumenacher

Krumenacher

Mark Krumenacher has spent 33 years with GZA, a national consultancy practicing in geotechnical, environmental, water, ecology and construction management. Working closely with aggregate producers and other nonmetallic mining companies, Krumenacher just completed a book titled “Quarry Regulatory Control & Permitting: Defending the Foundation of a Sustainable Society.” To discuss the book and what industry stakeholders can expect to gain from it, Krumenacher paid P&Q a visit.

How would you characterize the typical permitting process right now?

As difficult as it can be to get a permit today in states where nonmetallic mining is a local land use issue, it is never going to be easier. That’s why we need to educate, so the next board deciding on a permit in their community two, three generations from now can defend the need for mining – or at least understand it.

During public hearings for an aggregate mine, the local ready-mix, asphalt contractor and roadbuilders should come to support their businesses. In a township of 9,000 people, you can get 90 people at standing room-only capacity who are all against the mine. Those 90 people self-proclaim that they represent the voices of the other 8,910.

What set you on a path to write a book addressing regulatory control and oversight of the industry?

Ten years ago, I recognized the need to write a paper on mine permitting experiences and challenges. But that paper needed an outlet to decision-makers beyond the industry groups where the message would only be preaching to the choir.

The intended audience of “Quarry Regulatory Control & Permitting: Defending the Foundation of a Sustainable Society” is lawmakers, town planning commissions and boards, county zoning and land use agency members, neighbors, students and the general public. Photo: Mark Krumenacher

The intended audience of “Quarry Regulatory Control & Permitting: Defending the Foundation of a Sustainable Society” is lawmakers, town planning commissions and boards, county zoning and land use agency members, neighbors, students and the general public. Photo: Mark Krumenacher

We need to educate people. We need to change the three R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) to the four R’s, adding ‘reality’ to the curriculum. Some people clearly do not understand where things come from or where waste goes.

While adding reality to children’s education will help, right now the challenges really come down to ‘not in my backyard.’ [People] are smart enough to know we need mines, but they don’t want mines by them. They want their garbage picked up every week, but they don’t want the landfill near them. They want everything they can get, so long as it comes from somewhere else and the smiley blue van can deliver it tomorrow then drive away.

Perhaps with education, when the next generation comes before a body to get a permit for a mine, people may get it.

Who is the intended audience of your book?

Mining professionals are not the ultimate target audience for the book. But they are an advocate and messenger to the ultimate audience, which is lawmakers, town planning commissions and boards, county zoning and land use agency members, neighbors, students and the general public.

I knew I needed to include easy-to-read fact sheets that can be read quickly. I developed nine after I wrote the book, addressing air quality, groundwater quality, groundwater quantity, surface water, noise, blasting and vibrations, roadways, quarry reclamation and property values. They’re referenced in the book and included as appendices, and they’ll be provided in a single-page PDF format to those who purchase the book.

The fact sheets provide the opportunity to educate when meeting with individuals or groups.

How do you plan to distribute the book?

I am working to promote the book through the national and state mining and industry associations, as well as the universities with mining engineering and geology curriculum. Those groups are key.
Only the mining industry can provide the education and be the catalyst for the change that is needed to maintain a sustainable source of construction aggregate and other minerals that everyone relies upon.

I kept this book independent from all industry, including my own company. It is self-funded and available now at quarrybook.wordpress.com and by contacting me directly.


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