A proposed limestone quarry, Vincent Hills Quarry, operated by White Rock Quarries, a Florida-based mining company will threaten water quality in the Coosa River on Lay Lake and its Spring Creek and Locust Creek tributaries. The 100-year quarry will discharge 3 Million Gallons per Day of process waste water laden with sediment plus sediment-filled storm water during rain events. Coosa Riverkeeper is opposed to the proposed discharge locations of the quarry. The proposed location of discharges will threaten a public water supply for Shelby and Talladega Counties, potentially impact three threatened and endangered species, and threaten a recreational fishery and private property rights of quarry neighbors.
The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (or NPDES) permit, a permit authorizing the discharge of pollutants to the Coosa River under the Clean Water Act, was proposed by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (or ADEM). On March 20th at a public hearing held by ADEM in Vincent, the majority of the public spoke in opposition to the quarry. Coosa Riverkeeper presented technical remarks as to some of the many flaws in the permit. Read a transcript of Riverkeeper Frank Chitwood’s oral comments from the public hearing. On April 21st, the Southern Environmental Law Center submitted lengthy written comments on behalf of Coosa Riverkeeper which can be read here (1MB, without exhibits or see here for 7MB file with exhibits).
On September 15th, 2014 ADEM issued a final NPDES permit without making any changes despite overwhelming public opposition and valid recommendations and objections from both Coosa Riverkeeper and the Environmental Protection Agency. ADEM’s response to public comments can be viewed here.