Region needs quarry

California’s roads are crumbling, and we’re running out of construction materials to build schools, hospitals and churches in our communities.

In just 20 years, a dozen quarries in Riverside and San Diego counties will close because of exhausted reserves or expired permits, leaving this growing region without enough rocks and gravel to meet its needs. The proposed Liberty Quarry project would help address that shortfall and would be run by Granite Construction, which has a strong history of monitoring and minimizing environmental impacts and carries a solid safety record.

Granite’s quarry in northern San Diego County, is a case in point.

At Rosemary’s Quarry, community members helped design a noise, vibration and air-monitoring plan and assisted in selecting the locations, the frequency of the testing and the company that does the monitoring.

Granite has offered to do the same at Liberty Quarry and has offered to install an air monitoring station at a Temecula Valley Unified School District school that is 3 miles from the quarry. Similar air and noise monitoring locations could be placed close to the quarry as well as in the city of Temecula before crews even break ground on Liberty Quarry.

Community members need look no further than Rosemary Quarry’s latest air-quality testing report to see how successful that kind of a program can be.

According to the Feb. 24 report, dust and crystalline silica levels within 600 feet of the quarry’s center were far less than the state’s stringent regulatory standards in 2009. In fact, the report by SCS Tracer Environmental concluded that the site was “an insignificant source of PM10 and crystalline silica.”

The safety record for Rosemary’s Quarry is similarly reassuring.

The location has had no lost-time accidents since opening two years ago and, like all quarries, is heavily monitored by local, state and federal regulators who often give no advance notice of their inspections.

The Mining Safety and Health Administration officials have inspected Rosemary’s Quarry eight times since operations began in 2008 and found no compliance issues on three inspections. The citations found on the other inspections were minor and were corrected immediately.

The violations included a failure by Granite to tell a subcontractor to “lock out” a truck, meaning take it out of operation, because the wire to the horn was disconnected. In another instance, one of Granite’s subcontractors had an expired fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher was replaced. None of the violations resulted in any harm to anyone or to the environment and were immediately corrected. Granite takes its responsibility for safety and environmental compliance seriously.

We invite anyone who wants to learn more about Granite Construction’s performance at Rosemary’s Quarry to join us at the Rancho Monserate Country Clubhouse, 4650 Dulin Road, Fallbrook, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The 2009 air monitoring test results on Rosemary’s Quarry will be presented at this community meeting. Anyone with additional questions or anyone who wants a copy of the monitoring report can contact us at 951-304-9283.