A concerned group of citizens has come together to try to stop the addition of an asphalt plant at a quarry in East Rockhill Township, Bucks County, PA. The Rock Hill Quarry was virtually inactive for almost 40 years, but the company is now planning a massive expansion. New industrial operations will create more noise, pollution, and traffic in the suburban community that is also dealing with a major development of the local airport and water issues potentially caused by a 1986 fire at a tire store.
As corporate interests create a trifecta of major changes to living conditions in this small community of 5,000 people, residents are pushing back against the latest attempt to add another environmental concern to the onslaught of proposals to change East Rockhill Township.
With the help of the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance (REPA) community members have organized in hopes of stopping the asphalt plant and preventing the quarry from moving into full production. Full production would mean increasing from 500 to 800,000 tons of stone per year next to residential neighborhoods, without compliance with current local zoning ordinances. Richard E. Pierson Materials Corp., who is leasing the quarry from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, stated in their application to the Department of Environmental Protection, that they estimate 175 truckloads of stone will be moved through the residential community in a typical 9-hour workday – one truck leaving the quarry every 90 seconds. This estimate did not include any other support vehicles, such as diesel fuel and propane delivery trucks, that will be associated with the proposed quarry’s work.
Traffic is only one of the group’s many concerns. They are also worried about the various types of pollution, noise and water issues. If the quarry moves into full operation, blasting (which literally makes my house shake, and I live over a mile from the quarry), machinery, and trucks can begin work as early as 7 AM. If the quarry operator has a contract calling for night work, this noise pollution can continue all through the night. The impact on the region’s water is also concerning. The new 1000-ton/hour stone crusher will require 100,000 gallons of water PER DAY. REPA notes that there are three wells located within one-half mile of the proposed quarry site that provide much of the drinking water to the Pennridge community – water that is uncontaminated, in a region that has been rocked by revelations of cancer-causing chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, contaminating drinking water supplies.
On October 29, citizens attended the Zoning Hearing Board to express their concerns over the board moving forward to allow an asphalt plant and the quarry expansion without special exception compliance. Current zoning of the area does not permit an asphalt plant at the quarry site; but, the Board of Supervisors is being pressured to allow for the activity.
Concerned citizens will continue to organize in the community to ensure residents are aware of the implications such quarry expansion will have on their property values, lifestyle, and their safety and that of the local wildlife and environment. Any residents wanting more information are encouraged to join REPA at https://rockhillpa.org/.