AUBURN, Ala (EETV) - According to Alabama Department of Environmental Management, a public hearing will be granted in regards to the Quarry Permit in Lee County. A date has not been set yet but the City of Opelika will announce the date as soon as the hearing is scheduled.
Creekwood Resources has applied for air and water permits for a granite quarry to be located 0.6 miles from the intersection of Lee County Road 168 and US Highway 431.
Citizens of Opelika are worried about both the social and environmental impacts of the quarry. This quarry will affect traffic, noise, air quality, etc., as it is one mile from Grand National Golf Course, two miles from the Marriott Hotel, and hundred of homes. It is also one mile from Storybook Farms. Trucks for the quarry will pass three local schools (Morris Avenue, Jeter, and Opelika High School), as well as Southern Union State Community College.
For citizens that want to voice their concerns, they must submit a letter to ADEM no later than 5 p.m. on February, 20, 2020.
The two major concerns that ADEM will listen to are dust and air quality pollution and damage to primary source of drinking water in Saugahatchee Lake.
According to the city of Opelika, the first concern, dust and air quality pollution, will occur because "aggregate operations create dust from extraction, from moving the aggregate, from screening and crushing, and from trucks entering and exiting the processing area." The city of Opelika also states that "particulate matter is a respiratory hazard. Airborne silica, a byproduct of aggregate processing, is a known carcinogen." Although "suppression equipment and processes can reduce the release of dust and fine particulate matter into the air, they can’t eliminate it." In addition to particulate matter, "diesel fumes from trucks and equipment can have a negative impact on air quality."
The second concern that ADEM will listen to regards damage to Saugahatchee Lake which is a major source of drinking water for the Opelika area.According to Opelika "discharge will run into tributaries that run into Saugahatchee. Pits and quarries that extract near or into the water table, aquifers or aquitards (layers of soil that protect the underlying aquifers) can impact local wells and our lakes, negatively affecting both quality and quantity of water available."