City of Valley backs Beulah residents in quarry discussion

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

VALLEY — The Valley City Council has gone on record to oppose having a new quarry in the Beulah community not far from the Chambers County line.

“This is something we need to do,” Mayor Leonard Riley said in recommending the passage of a resolution supporting the “Stop the Quarry” movement. The resolution was approved in a unanimous vote of the council.

Massive public opposition derailed an effort by Creekwood Resources LLC to locate a quarry in Lee County north of Opelika earlier this year. Creekwood is now seeking to locate a quarry northeast of Opelika in the Beulah community. The proposed site is on property owned by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation. The site is off Lee Road 177 and borders Halawakee Creek not far upstream from historic Bean’s Mill. Nearby is the Sentinel Hills subdivision, which has more than 60 residential parcels.

Email newsletter signup

If it goes in, it could be there for the next 50 years.

“Granite quarry operations will require blasting and crushing, which will result in significant noise and dust from the operation of quarry equipment and heavy trucks,” the resolution reads. “Extremely fine granite dust particles will settle on the land and on bodies of water, potentially causing damage to residents, water supply, local flora and fauna.”

“Such dust in the air is a respiratory hazard,” the resolution continues. “It would include silica, a known carcinogen. Halawakee Creek provides water to rural Lee County residents as well as the City of Opelika.”

A granite quarry would have no option, the resolution claims, but to discharge “treated drainage” into Halawakee Creek. It would affect both surface water and groundwater, depress the water table and affect nearby wells, springs and bodies of surface water. The “Stop the Quarry” movement is also concerned about the heavy truck traffic a new quarry would create. Fully loaded trucks leaving the quarry would have to either head north into Chambers County or south onto Highway 29.

“The heavy truck traffic would have the potential to cause noticeable congestion on the two-lane federal highway,” the resolution reads, “and it can reasonably be predicted that a significant portion of this traffic will exit Highway 29 onto Interstate 85.”

The resolution approved by the council not only opposes the one proposed in Beulah but any other proposed quarry in Lee or Chambers County.