Quarry rezoning explosive issue

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
The Rogers Group invited the Marshall County Planning Commission and area residents concerned about a request to expand the quarry to witness a blast at the Pottsville site on Wednesday. The blast was the highlight of a presentation by Rogers discussing their procedures to limit vibration and sound from blasting in the quarry. The Rogers Group is seeking the rezoning of just over 300 acres at the site to allow expansion of the operation. The photos show Wednesday’s “shot,” which removed limestone from an 85 foot rock face at the quarry.
Tribune photos by Scott Pearson

It’s not every public meeting that features an explosion at the end.

The Rogers Group invited the Marshall County Planning Commission and neighbors of their Pottsville quarry site to view a blast at the quarry and to hear of the company’s efforts to minimize any impact from operations on surrounding homeowners.

The company has requested approval from the Planning Commission for the rezoning of 308 acres next to the existing site on Highway 99 in order to expand the Pottsville operation.

Some area residents are opposed to the request, citing concerns about the impact of blasting in the quarry on their wells and home foundations, among other concerns.

One man was concerned about possible debris from blasting at the quarry threatening his home.

Both Kenny Nelson Road and Collins West Road border the Pottsville Quarry.

The meeting was intended to explain the company’s efforts to be a good neighbor and the monitoring they undertake to minimize any impact on the area.

Representatives of the Rogers Group, their blasting contractor, and their vibration monitoring consultant went over the processes at the

ry during blasting.

Matt Pilz, with Vibratech, the company who monitors vibration from the site, went over the company’s monitoring efforts and Federal and State regulations on acceptable levels of ground and air vibration allowed from blasting operations.

The Federal standard is two inches of movement per second for the ground.

Representatives of the Rogers Group voluntarily limited any blasting vibrations at the quarry to a level much lower than the allowable standard, one-half-inch of movement per second.

The “shot’ on Wednesday, despite roughly 1,100 pounds of explosives and on a larger rock face than normal, was predicted to generate one-quarter of an inch of movement, and seismographs monitoring vibration showed less than that actually occurred.

In 2015, the company requested a rezoning for property to the west of the current location.

Rogers either owns or has leases on 655 acres at the Pottsville location.

That request was not approved, at the time, due to opposition from residents.

Rogers said that this request for rezoning moves to the east of the site, farther away from residences and bordered by either agricultural land or the Volunteer Materials quarry on Highway 99.

Marshall County Zoning Administrator Don Nelson was pleased with the turnout at the meeting and hoped that some good had come from the forum.

“I’ve always said it, but we have a really good Planning Commission,” said Nelson. “A lot of them took a day off of work to be here.”

Nelson said that one neighbor of the quarry had told him that she still opposed the expansion, but that she understood the quarry and their process better.

The commission will meet on November 21 to consider the rezoning request.

The Rogers Group began operating in Pottsville in 1990, with their first large project being supplying gravel for construction on I-65.

The Pottsville quarry produces limestone products used, depending on size, for everything from erosion control to road beds and concrete to agricultural lime.

According to Rogers, the quarry employs 18 people at Pottsville and supports another 12 to 14 trucking jobs in the county through hauling stone.

By the company’s estimates, the Pottsville operation pays close to $400,000 per year in county sales and severance taxes to Marshall County.