In Illinois, mining companies are committed to managing environmental impact as an integral part of daily operations while striving to maintain business practices, land stewardship, and reclamation techniques that are beneficial for the community, natural habitats, and incorporate and utilize the “4 R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reclaim.

One of Illinois’ largest “behind the meter” solar projects reduces energy consumption and reuses the Sun’s abundant potential to power a mine in northern Illinois. The 7.5 acre solar field was previously mined then became a certified clean fill site and is now used to generate a consumable, renewable energy resource.

The aggregate industry has embraced the recycling of concrete and asphalt as well as utilizing materials that would often be considered waste. Many mines are permitted to accept clean fill materials thus diverting them from landfills and helping to return the operations to a more natural state after mining is completed.

Once reclaimed, sand & gravel mines and stone quarries are converted to other useful purposes

As part of the mining process, aggregate companies undertake mined land repurposing (known as mine reclamation) guided by the potential to utilize resources at the mine site which may be developed to benefit surrounding communities, landowners, and businesses.

Mining companies collaborated with the Village of Cary to devise a plan for the final reclamation of mined land into a 196-acre park, known as Rotary Park. A 67-acre fishing lake is surrounded by walking and biking trails.

In addition to supplying the community with a magnificent park, other areas of concern were addressed. In redesigning stormwater controls, the company created several on-site drain tiles as well as drainage areas and tiles for the neighboring subdivisions and farms to allow them to control their stormwater issues more efficiently and effectively.

Thornton Quarry covers 700 acres south of Chicago. The north lobe of the quarry has been reclaimed and is now part of the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) connected to an extensive network of deep tunnels designed to benefit 556,000 people in 14 communities throughout the South Side of Chicago and south suburbs. It protects 182,000 homes, businesses, and other facilities and improves water quality in the Calumet River and Calumet-Sag Channel by collecting combined sewer overflows before entering waterways. The reservoir’s 7.9 billion gallon capacity holds these overflows before pumping the water back to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant to be treated.

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