Valley Quarries to reactivate Williamson quarry

Valley Quarries to reactivate Williamson quarryNov 7, 2003Pennsylvania) With plans for a new limestone quarry in St. Thomas Township pending approval, the owners of an existing but largely inactive quarry in the Williamson area are preparing to ratchet up production there. Valley Quarries is seeking the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s OK to install a portable rock-crushing and screening plant at its 115-acre Williamson quarry off Quarry Road. Valley Quarries Operations Manager Randy Van Scyoc declined to say specifically whether the plans were a response to plans of a competing company — Tony DePaul and Son of Blue Bell — for a quarry near the village of St. Thomas. “It’s been suggested that the area may need another source of aggregate and in particular, the western and southern ends of the county,” Van Scyoc said. “We just feel we should be ready to respond to that, if that’s a fact and not just an issue of perception.” Since DePaul unveiled plans for a 180-acre quarry and adjacent asphalt and cement plans near St. Thomas, some area contractors have said the operation would bring competition to Valley Quarries and make it less expensive to get stone to the western half of Franklin County. Bryan Salzmann, a local attorney for DePaul, declined to comment on the company’s behalf on Valley Quarries’ plans to reactivate its Williamson quarry. Valley Quarries, a subsidiary of New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co., is the county’s chief producer of limestone, gravel, blacktop and concrete for road and construction projects. It produces 1 million tons of stone at its Guilford Township quarry near New Franklin. Until now, the company has mined just enough stone at the Williamson quarry to keep its non-coal surface mining permit active — about 500 tons a year. That may change now, according to Van Scyoc, who said the company also recently amended its blasting permit for the Williamson site. “It would be dependent on market,” said Van Scyoc, who hopes to be ready to operate the portable rock-crushing and screening facilities some time in 2004. He said he could not say by how much production at the Williamson quarry might be increased. “Anything I can say is just going to be speculative and I don’t think that serves any purpose,” Van Scyoc said. The Williamson quarry is one of several quarries in that area, but is the only one still in use. It taps the same limestone formation the proposed DePaul quarry would, Van Scyoc said. The president of a citizens’ group organized to fight the planned DePaul quarry near St. Thomas said the group wants to study Valley Quarries’ plans for the Williamson site before taking a position on it. “At this point, I would say the jury is kind of out as to whether we would object to the Williamson quarry,” said Fran Calverase of Friends and Residents of St. Thomas (FROST). “Without studying more, I would say it doesn’t appear to offer the threat that the quarry here does.”He said any problems or hazards caused by the Williamson quarry would likely have come to light and been addressed by now, and environmental threats would be lessened because the operation is below ground and not at the surface the way a new quarry would be. Frank Stearn, an opponent of the DePaul operation who unofficially won a seat on the township board of supervisors this week, said expanding an existing, permitted quarry is preferable to building a new one. “I think it’s much more logical,” Stearn said. “Also, there’s no asphalt being co-located (at the Williamson quarry) and that certainly is a plus.” Valley Quarries sent a letter to St. Thomas Township Supervisors last month notifying them of its plans. The township has 30 days to submit comments to DEP. DEP received Valley Quarries’ application this week, according to DEP spokesman Karl Lasher. He said the agency must respond within 30 days. Valley Quarries bought the Williamson quarry from Martin Marietta Materials around 1981, but a quarry has been located at the site for 100 years or more, Van Scyoc said. Until now, the company has not had any full-time employees there, instead sending workers from its New Franklin quarry when removing stone, Van Scyoc said. “We’ve done some minor processing there of dimension stone — building stone — but to my knowledge, since Valley has operated it, we haven’t had any significant plant operations there,” he said. “What we have done typically is hauled (stone produced there) out to our New Franklin quarry and processed it there.” The type of limestone in the Williamson quarry — although good for aggregate — is someone different from that at Valley’s New Franklin site, according to Van Scyoc. He said it has a high calcium content that is good for a number of uses, including agricultural applications, water treatment, manufacturing steel and making cement. In addition, the available dimension stone is used for masonry facing. Valley Quarries’ operations:Quarry (limestone), blacktop and concrete plants — Stone Quarry Road. Shippensburg Quarry (limestone, clay and topsoil) and blacktop plant — Pa. 533 north of Shippensburg (Cumberland County) Concrete plant — West Garfield Street, Shippensburg Williamson Quarry (limestone) — north of Williamson Mt. Cydonia Sand Plant #1 — South of U.S. 30 between Fayetteville and Caledonia Mt. Cydonia Sand Plant #2 — Pa. 997 north of U.S. 30, Fayetteville Mt. Cydonia Sand Plant #3 — Sand Bank Road, Southampton Township, Cumberland County Gettysburg Quarry (limestone and other) and blacktop plant — Pa. 97 southeast of Gettysburg, Adams County Fairfield Quarry (limestone) — Pa. 116 north of Fairfield, Adams County Greencastle Valley Transit Mix (concrete) Plant — Pa. 16 west of Greencastle

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