- In January 2021, the Caswell County Planning Department processed and approved four permits for the company’s proposed projects – two for the Burlington North (Anderson) site and two for the Prospect Hill Quarry and Distribution Center (Quarry) site. They are Watershed Protection Permits and Special Non-residential Intensity Allocation (SNIA) Permits.
- In February 2021, many residents and landowners affected by the permit decision filed an appeal with the county planning department in accordance with local ordinance.
- In May 2021, the company sued 55 of the permit appellants in Superior Court to settle the question of vested rights in court. The company later added three additional defendants to the lawsuit. See the NC Policy Watch article by Lisa Sorg “Tired of fighting opponents of a proposed mine and asphalt plants, Carolina Sunrock decides to sue“
- In March 2022, the Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit against the 3 defendants that were added. See the NC Policy Watch article by Lisa Sorg “Caswell County judge dismisses mining company lawsuit against residents, citing free speech“
- The appeal hearing of the local permits has been postponed by the county multiple times and will probably continued to be postponed until the outcome of the Superior Court case.
- No trial court date has been set for the lawsuit in Superior Court
- NC DEQ/DMLR issued a mining permit to the company on 12/13/2021. An appeal has been filed with the NC Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
- NC DEQ/DAQ issued the company an air quality permit for the Prospect Hill Quarry and Distribution Center on 10/19/2021.
Citizen concerns with the operation of the quarry:
- Dewatering of deep pits (300 and 550 ft) will affect nearby wells that are much shallower:
- Flow rate from wells will decrease and possibly run dry
- Wells will not recharge as quickly
- Sediment will increase
- Contamination will occur
- Both pit dewatering and the release of tremendous amounts of stormwater and process water will alter and damage the surrounding ecosystem.
- Changes to wetlands and streams will affect aquatic life
- Pit dewatering will affect the aquifer ability to recharge
- Pit dewatering and the release of water will have adverse effects on the Roxboro Lake
- Sugartree Creek will be affected. The creek is in the Roanoke River basin and is classified as a High-Quality Water and Water Supply II stream
- Planned retention and settling ponds are not adequate for significant storms
- Sediments in surrounding streams will increase
- Blasting will damage surrounding foundations and structures
- Blasting will create sediment and alter water flow to surrounding wells
- Fly rock will injure people and damage property
- Noise from blasting, equipment and trucks, and warning sirens will be very disruptive
- Dust (particulate matter) will cover plants, soil, and nearby agriculture causing a detrimental effect on livestock and crops
- Dust will infiltrate wetland and streams
- Dust will cause respiratory problems for humans and animals (pets, wildlife, livestock)
- Release of airborne asbestos
- Damage to historical sites and cemeteries
- Heavy trucks causing damage to local roadways not able to handle the weight and frequency
- Significantly increase of heavy truck traffic
- Increased traffic pose a higher risk to children embarking, debarking and waiting for their buses alongside roadways
- Spills, leaks, and accidental discharges from equipment, trucks, and tanks
- Wildlife habitat will be destroyed
- Endangered species will be destroyed – Carolina ladle crayfish (Cambarus davidi)
- Nearby residents and guests will not be able to work outdoors or enjoy outdoor activities due to air and noise pollution
- There is no zoning at the quarry site that allowed for local government determination or public input. A zoning ordinance is needed that will truly protect our Rural Residential/Agricultural community.
- Bald eagles will be disturbed by blasting and other mine operations
- The limits imposed by NC DEQ are self-regulated by the company which could be violated with impunity until (if) caught by infrequent NC DEQ inspections. Penalties for violations may not be significant to the company to deter them.
The rock quarry is planned to be operated at 1238 Wrenn Rd, Prospect Hill. The quarry facility will:
- be situated on 630 acres of leased land
- disturb 380 acres by operations
- have 2 rock pits with depths up to 300 feet for one and 550 feet for the other
- expected to operate up to 24 hours per day with a limiting production of 4,745 hours per year
- expected to operate for 50 years
- emit toxic air pollutants requiring permitting
- the facility (quarry + asphalt plant + concrete plant) is requesting to produce up to:
- 89.06 tons per year of particulate matter
- includes 84.92 tons per year of particulate matter that is less than 10 microns in size
- includes 14.79 tons per year of particulate matter that is less than 2.5 microns in size
- 25.27 tons per year of sulfur dioxide
- 45.26 tons per year of nitrogen oxides
- 98.58 tons per year of carbon monoxide
- 39.13 tons per year of other volatile organic compounds
- 89.06 tons per year of particulate matter
- de-water pits up to 3.4 million gallons of water per day
- require permits and environmental documentation
- mining permit
- air permit
- discharge permits
- consist of:
- a hot mix asphalt (HMA) plant
- a reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) crushing system
- a truck mix batch concrete plant
- storage tanks
- a propane storage tank (100,000 gallon capacity)
- 2 diesel fuel storage tanks (20,000 gallon capacity each)
- quarry operations
- electricity generation (huge power generators)
Quarry Asphalt Plant
For the quarry Asphalt plant, RAP system, concrete plant, and storage tanks – see Asphalt Plants. The company has requested restrictions on the production of the facility’s hot mix asphalt plant to 600,000 tons per year of asphalt.
The quarry will operate with a capacity of 1,200 tons per hour for primary crushing, secondary crushing, aggregate screening/washing, and aggregate conveyance. Roadways within 600 ft of blasting will be closed down temporarily during blasting operations. Water will be pumped out of the pits (up to 3.4 million gallons a day) into de-watering ponds. Stormwater and process water will be released into nearby streams. In their air permit application, the company has requested to cap quarry operations to a maximum of 4,745 hours per year and annual production of 5,694,000 tons per year with no limit on daily operating hours.
The quarry facility will use electricity generated by LARGE natural gas/propane fired generators. Two generators are rated at 2065 hp and one is rated at 1721 hp. Propane will likely only be used for a few weeks during plant startup until a natural gas pipeline is completed. In their air permit application, the company is requesting to limit operation of the three generators to only two simultaneously with a limit of 17,520 hours per year.
The potential emissions from these large generators are based on 8,760 hrs/year of operation since they are providing electricity to the site and may be run continuously.
There will also be several diesel-fired generators associated with certain quarry equipment such as primary crushers, screens, and cone crushers along with 2 diesel fuel storage tanks (20,000 gallon capacity each).
A 404 permit is required under section 404 of the Clean Water Act before dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United States. The Raleigh Field Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administers individual and general permit decisions for Caswell County.
A mining permit is required from the State in accordance with the NC Mining Act. Read the company’s mine permit application and documentation at NC DEQ Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources Mining Program webpage.
An air permit is required from the State. The permit application, draft permit, hearing information, and other information can be found by clicking [HERE] (currently denied). The air permit includes the onsite asphalt/cement plant. To keep pollutants under Clean Air Act limits, the company plans the following limits:
- Limit asphalt production to 600,000 tons per year
- Limit quarry operations to 4,745 hours per year and 5,694,000 tpy
- Limit the large generators running only 2 of the 3 simultaneously and only for 17,520 hours per year
Discharge permits for pit and stormwater will be required under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program of the Clean Water Act. The company is to identify the NPDES required for their mining activities.
A 401 water quality certification (WQC) is required for any federally permitted or licensed activity that may result in a discharge to waters of the U.S. Typically, if the US Army Corps of Engineers determines that a 404 Permit is required because the project involves impacts to wetlands or waters, then a 401 WQC is also required.
Caswell County Requirements
- Flood Hazard Acknowledgement Form if either 100 year floodplain or floodway is located on the property
- Floodplain Development Permit if located within a Regulatory Floodway or Non-encroachment
- Land Development Form
- Special Non-Residential Intensity Allocation (SNIA) Permit if development exceeds 12% built-upon area (UDO 10.8.3.5.)
- Spill containment plan if storing toxic and hazardous materials (UDO section 10.8.3.3.)
- Stormwater management plan, if applicable (UDO 10.8.3.5.5.2.)
- Inventory of hazardous materials, if applicable (UDO 10.8.3.5.5.3.)
- Watershed Protection Permit (UDO 10.8.11.)
- Site Plan (required by Watershed Protection Permit process) to include:
- Stream buffer setbacks
- Impervious surface area calculation
- Undisturbed vegetation
- Any proposed new structures
- Other required features
- Watershed Protection Occupancy Permit (UDO 10.8.13.)
- Building Permit (UDO 10.8.12.)
- Confirmation of an applicable NC DEQ permit
- Confirmation of a NC DOT Driveway Permit
- NC DEQ determination regarding origination of on-site ponds
UDO = Caswell County’s Unified Development Ordinance
Questions and comments about the proposed quarry can be sent to Quarry27314@gmail.com.