COVINGTON - The Newton County Board of Commissioners has approved an application to restart a commercial sand dredging operation in the South River.
Petitioner Dan Schildt, of Southeast River Sand LLC, told the board at its Aug. 21 meeting that he wants to restart the business after a one-year hiatus. His operation entails pumping sand from the river and selling it to businesses and the public. Schildt said he hopes to pump between 15,000 and 25,000 tons of sand a year, which would amount to three to five truckloads per day, but added that realistically, he will probably get less than that. During the last few years, sales have been approximately 13,000 tons per year, with an average of two truckloads per day. Most traffic will go north on Butler Bridge to Hwy. 20 and a few loads will go south to Hwy. 212.
The process helps clean the river, Schildt said, because, "All the trash in the river that I pump out, we don't put it back in."
Sand dredging has been done at the site since about 2001, he said. The portion of property in questions is a remote location along South River accessed by a 3,800 foot long private gravel driveway off Butler Bridge Road, with no adjacent neighbors in Newton or bordering Henry County.
Hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., approximately 85 percent of the time and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., approximately 15 percent of the time, Monday through Friday, according to a letter of intent Schildt sent the county. Schildt said he is also hoping to be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from early spring through early fall on Saturdays for residents who want river sand for landscaping projects.
"Dredging helps pump trash out of the river, lowers sand levels which aids in flood control, and creates deeper water for recreational use," Schildt said.