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School concerned about air quality close to sand mines


NEW AUBURN, Wis. (WSAU) - A northwest Wisconsin school district is concerned about the air quality inside their buildings because of nearby sand mines. 

New Auburn schools have changed to a higher quality and more expensive air filter for their heating and air conditioning system. That’s because they’ve discovered small amounts of silica on the old filters, and didn’t want to take any chances. A lab confirmed the findings.

There are four silica sand mines within close proximity to the community that’s a half hour drive north of Eau Claire. Superintendent Brian Henning told the Eau Claire Leader Telegram the change in filters will cost New Auburn schools about $1,500 this school year.

The sand is used for hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from deep underground. The sand is usually mixed with chemicals or coated before use.