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Company to dredge South River
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The board of commissioners approved an operational use permit at their meeting on Tuesday night, after a sand dredging business petitioned to continue its operations at a portion of the South River in Newton County.

Dan Schildt, the owner of Southeast River Sand, requested to restart operations of his commercial sand dredging business.

He said the operation would take place at 900 Butler Bridge Road in a portion of the South River and Henry County. Schildt told commissioners sand dredging would help clean out the river, lower sand levels which would help control floods, and create deeper water for recreational use.

"It's just pumping sand out of the river and selling it for retail to businesses and customers and some to the public," Schildt said. "It cleans the river because all the trash that's in the river that [we] pump out, we do not put it back in."

Scott Sirotkin, director of the Newton County Department of Development Services, said the land was about eight acres in size and located in District 2 of the county. He said the area was zoned as agriculture and Simmons Investment Holdings was the property owner.

According to a letter of intent from Schildt to the Newton County Department of Planning and Development, the business plans to operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. In the letter, Schildt said the business would only be open on Saturdays from late spring through early fall.

Schildt told the board of commissioners that there was very little truck traffic involved with his operation and there were no homes or businesses within 800 feet of the area.

"We hope to sell between 15 and 25 thousand tons a year. Realistically, it's probably going to be less than that.

"[That'll] amount to three or four truck loads a week that will be coming out of there," he said.

Schildt said his sand dredging operation has been at the Butler Bridge Road site since 2001, but ceased operations for a year. He said he wants to re-start his commercial business to continue selling sand to area businesses and to the public. Schildt did not say why his business stopped operating for a year.

Though the conditional use permit was approved by the Newton County Board of Commissioners, Schildt also has to get approval from Henry County to use their portion of the land owned at the South River.