Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association

Dear Friends,

SAVE THE DATE – February 16, 2022

WISA canceled the 2021 Annual Meeting for safety’s sake.  But with the business turndown in 2019, and the pandemic, a lot of folks were wondering what has happened to mining companies and many vendors, customers, regulators, and academics who keep the industry going.

That’s why we are pleased to announce in-person annual meeting.   Please mark your calendars for Feb.16, 2022, and join us for the day at the Eau Claire, WI Holiday Inn.  We are working on the agenda, which will include presentations from industry, academia, regulatory and the political world.

WISA’s mission centers around miner and employee safety, superior environmental performance science-based, common-sense regulation.  This past year, we have spent time in opposing proposed permits which would have placed specific water testing requirements on Wisconsin sand mine facilities that would not have been applied to other facilities engaged in the exact same mining processes.


Over the past few years, WISA has expanded its mission to be the market advocate for Northern White Sand (NWS).   Nobody disputes that the pure, spherical, incredibly strong (the industry term is “crush strength”) that comes from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota is functionally superior.

Nonetheless, we recognize that some well field service companies have shifted to regional sands, supplanting NWS.  While regional sand might seem cheaper in the short term, requiring transport over shorter distances, we know that it is more angular, less pure and structurally weaker.  We suspected that regional sands were less economical in the long-term, anticipating that wells would produce less when hydro fractured with lower-grade sands. This inefficiency yields less return on investor capital and wastes available energy resources.   We also looked at the increased trucking regional sands require and safety implications.

We gathered funds and hired an independent third-party researcher to test our hypothesis.  The results showed that NWS is almost always superior in long-term productivity.  The ground-breaking report is available here   RYSTAD+Energy+Study.pdf (nwsinfo.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com)

All that happened pre-COVID, and it is time for us to continue that research.   In coming weeks, we will be reaching out to everyone in the industry, providers, vendors, consultants, to help us fund this important work.  I urge you to consider donating and to ask others in your business biosphere to do so.

One positive aspect of this effort is that we have met and engaged with other sand companies in Wisconsin and surrounding states who have rolled up their sleeves to make sure that NWS holds its place in the market.

Looking forward to seeing you on February 16th.

Warm regards,

WISA Executive Team



WisconsinSand.org is the online home of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association (WISA), an organization formed to promote safe and environmentally responsible sand mining standards, promote a fact-based discussion and create a positive dialogue among the industry, citizens and Wisconsin government officials.

Sand mining has a rich history in Wisconsin that dates back more than a century, in fact, the image of a miner appears on both the Wisconsin state symbol and the state flag. Companies involved in the state’s sand mining industry employ thousands in family-supporting jobs and are making significant multimillion-dollar investments in areas across Wisconsin, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in overall economic impact for the state and local communities.

As leaders of the state’s sand mining industry, WISA is focused on working cooperatively with state and local governments and others to help develop effective and scientifically based safety, health, environmental and land-use standards. Our members follow a mandatory Code of Conduct with strong principles and tough standards that guide the Association’s efforts to be a leader in fostering a healthy, safe and environmentally responsible sand mining industry in Wisconsin. WISA and its members will work to show that there are many positives when taking the right approach to sand mining. With a proper balance between sound operations, adherence to responsible regulations and good relationships, we can operate safely and protect the environment while generating significant economic impact.