Rock quarry concerns

Caswell County residents stand as Leslie Zimmerman (podium) asks how many of them came to Monday's Board of Commissioners meeting to protest the proposed rock quarry on Lake Roxboro located off Wrenn Road. 

Local government was alive and well inside Yanceyville’s historic Downtown Courthouse Monday night. 

Exercising their right to assemble, nearly 50 Caswell County residents showed up for a public hearing during the Caswell Board of Commissioners meeting and addressed their concerns over a proposed rock quarry on Wrenn Road near Lake Roxboro. 

Heather Langan kicked off the meeting by addressing her concerns towards the effects the proposed rock quarry would have on Caswell’s environment, citing several studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

“There are four main impacts on water quality,” Langan said. “Acid mine drainage, that’s terrible, heavy metal contamination and leeching, processing chemicals pollution and erosion and sedimentation. All of these can cause catastrophic effects on a quarry’s environment.”

Langan also spoke on how mining companies claim that all harmful dust particles will be eliminated on site but that in order to do so, an enormous amount of water must be used. 

“However, this requires enormous amounts of water,” Langan said. “These amounts of water can deplete an aquifer as well as contaminate with carcinogenic heavy metals. The EPA says that mining can deplete surface and groundwater supplies. Groundwater withdrawals may damage or destroy streaming habitats many miles from the actual mine sites. In terms of effects on farming, high concentrations of metals from a quarry pose a great threat to general ecosystems due to their persistence. In plants, the blockage of stomata hinders photosynthesis in areas around quarry sites.” 

Caswell resident Ed Dougherty followed Langan and spoke of his concerns on the effects the quarry would have to property values in the area, along with the importance of maintaining the county’s historic homes. 

“We are relatively new residents to the county and purchased our historic home just a few years ago,” Dougherty said. “Our house was originally built in 1890 by D.E. Wilkerson and remained family occupied for about 100 years and later became Judge Allen’s house and Judge Allen, being a longtime Caswell County judge and figurehead in this community. When we closed on our home, I remarked to the sellers how much we felt to be caretakers as much as owners of the house and we still do.”

Dougherty also commented on the potential noise pollution the quarry might bring.

 “The prospect of the sound of birds in the morning being replaced by the piercing backup alarms of dump trucks and the crashing sound of gravel being loaded. The peaceful sound of farm tractors going by as the drivers wave to us being replaced by the thundering of heavily loaded dump trucks headed abruptly to drop off their loads and repeat up to 50 times a day is quite distressing and a bit unheartening,” Dougherty said. 

He also voiced his concerns on the potential of environmental pollution as well, particularly concerning the county’s water supply. 

“We rely solely on our well for the supply of clean drinking water and for our gardens,” Dougherty said. 

For those interested in joining the fight to keep the quarry out of the county, there will be a community gathering Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Prospect Hill Community Health Center.