By Will Fairless
Citizens of Beulah have raised concerns about the Shady Grove Quarry, a potential granite quarry in Beulah for which Creekwood Resources, LLC has applied for permits. Some citizens have formed a group called “Protect Buelah, Stop the Quarry.”
Creekwood has been responding to concerns via its Facebook page, and it recently distributed an information sheet addressing some of the most common questions and comments about the quarry. The following is from a post on Dec. 22, 2020, on Creekwood’s Facebook page:
“How would the Creekwood operation differ from the two quarries that caused the negative impacts in south Lee county a few years ago?
“Although we are not fully aware of the negative impacts of those operations, we are generally aware of the potential impacts of limestone operations on groundwater. This rock type (limestone/marble) is known to hold and transmit water; and support underground streams, sink holes, aquifers and other karst features. On the other hand, the proposed Shady Grove Quarry is in a granitic type rock. The granite family of rocks is known for being massive, durable, not easily erodible and do not support the presence or transmission of groundwater, aquifers, or any type of karst features.
“Will there be sinkholes?
“There will be no sinkholes associated with the proposed Shady Grove operation as you have experienced with the noted limestone/marble operations in the area. The granitic geology of the Shady Grove area does not support the formation or occurrence of sinkholes or other karst features.
“What effects would the operation have on the adjacent Halawakee creek and Lake Harding?
“There will be no adverse impacts to either Halawakee Creek or Lake Harding from the Shady Grove Quarry. Although the permit boundary is adjacent to Halawakee Creek, the nearest point to be quarried is approximately 1,000 feet from the Creek. Furthermore, the granitic geology of the proposed quarry does not support the storage or transmission of groundwater. You can see even many places where Halawakee Creek flows on solid granite. All stormwater from the Shady Grove operation will be captured in one of several oversized ponds constructed on-site. The water captured in these ponds will be used on-site and recycled. The Shady Grove facility will be monitored and will comply with the stringent permit requirements set forth by ADEM.
“How will the dust be controlled?
“Water trucks are used on internal roadways regularly to control dust generated by vehicle traffic. Inside the plant, water sprays are used at precise locations for dust control. Permit compliance with ADEM requires dust control through compliance demonstration, including monitoring, record keeping, testing and reporting.
“What effects will blasting at the Shady Grove Quarry have on the Sabal pipeline?
“There will be no impacts to the Sabal pipeline from the proposed quarry operation. In accordance with the Sabal Trail Transmission Guidelines, there will be no blasting within 500 feet of the pipeline. Furthermore, there will be no earthwork, construction, or other encroachment onto the pipeline right-of-way. It is not uncommon for quarries to be in close proximity to natural gas transmission pipelines.
“How long has the leadership of CreekWood been involved in the stone industry?
“The leadership has been involved in the industry for over 33 years, and worked, in varying capacities on 29 different quarry operations.
“How much of the property will be actually be quarried?
“Of the 255 acres permitted, only 16% (approximately 40 acres) will actually be quarried.
“What can the property around the quarry be used for?
“Properties around quarries have no different land uses than those not around quarries. In our experience there is no limit to the development potential. Within our boundaries, the vast majority of the property will be naturally vegetated buffer. You are encouraged to review to the two aerial photographs provided showing the variety of land uses around quarries in Norcross and Forsythe, GA. Most of the development occurred after the quarries began and while in operation.”
On the information sheet Creekwood distributed, the company makes assurances similar to those above. It also adds that it expects to provide full-time employment to at least 15 members of the local community and makes the following statement:
“At CreekWood, we commit to operating in a safe, socially and environmentally responsible manner, while creating good quality jobs and economic opportunity for the local community.”
Elizabeth Revell, with Creekwood, responded to some questions via an email exchange with the Observer. She emphasized that the Halawakee Creek will be unaffected by the quarry. She also addressed the issue of quarry-related traffic, saying that the expectation is six to eight customer trucks per hour during the quarry’s business hours.
“The possibilities [for granite mining] in this area are indeed very limited,” Revell said. “The Shady Grove site is the best site we have been able to locate in the market area. We are not currently planning additional locations in Lee County or the surrounding counties.”
Creekwood can be reached for question or comment via Facebook Messenger (its page is called CreekWood Resources), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (256-577-7341).
For a summary of business regarding the quarry at Monday’s Lee County Commission meeting, turn to page B7.