Policy Documents

Silica Sand Mining in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources –
January 1, 2012

1.0 Introduction

Sand mining has occurred in Wisconsin for hundreds of years; however, recently there has been a dramatic increase in the number  of mining proposals.   This increase is attributed to a surge in  hydrofracking, a technique used by the petroleum industry to extract natural gas and/or crude oil from rock formations, which requires a certain quality of sand in the process. Wisconsin possesses high-quality sand resources and therefore is seeing a substantial rise in mining permit requests to mine for frac sand. Consequently, the topic of sand mining in Wisconsin has generated interest from regulators, legislators, local government, and the general public.

2.0 Purpose of this document

This is an informational document that summarizes our best current information on the mining process, possible environmental impacts, and applicable regulations. There are no oil or gas wells located in Wisconsin, thus this document does not address the effects of the hydrofracking technique. This document is intended to be a dynamic document and will be updated periodically as new significant information becomes available.