Opposed to Vincent Hills Quarry

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dear Editor,

Lay Lake Home Owners and Boat Owners (HOBO) Association supports the health, safety, and cleanliness of the lake. Consequently, we are naturally opposed to anything that would degrade it! Thus, we are very concerned about the wisdom of permitting the proposed Vincent Hills Quarry. Families living on the river and boat owners who use the river expect the water to be safe and clean. We enjoy the wildlife, swimming, skiing, boating and kayaking. Our lake is yet recovering from Anniston’s PCBs and paper mill poisoning. Osprey, who eat only fish, are now successfully nesting and our American Bald Eagle has returned to several spots along the lake.

The proposed quarry will adversely affect the Coosa River, the new Shelby-Talladega Water Treatment Plant, and could disturb the water table and a nearby contaminated superfund site/Alabama Plating Company. This site is known for the deaths of as many as five in one family, and affects many other disadvantaged neighbors. Buried drums of chemicals are a time bomb!

The state isn’t scheduled to tell us how they plan to treat this site until mid-2015, so how in the world can it be safe to permit a quarry without that information? As the water table moves so do contaminants.

Our concerns:

1) As Coosa Riverkeeper Chitwood says “The discharges of sediment into the Coosa will cover aquatic habitat, harm fish and mussels, and lower dissolved oxygen levels”. All of this equals fish kills. For a decade we have been monitoring monthly and posting publicly (Auburn website: Alabamawaterwatch.org) dissolved oxygen, turbidity (sediment), pH, alkalinity and hardness as a measure of water quality. Lay Lake is an Alabama treasure as a world-class fishing venue. Numerous tournaments are held at Lay Lake. Imagine Bass Masters looking elsewhere because our water has degraded.

2)Increased sediment reduces the ability of AL Power to control flooding and generate hydropower. Lay Lake is the only lake in the Coosa River system that must be maintained at full pool by AL Power. Increased sediment could also affect the Shelby-Talladega Water Treatment Plant.

3)Lowering of the water table will cause neighboring wells to dry up and the likelihood of sink holes increases. This has occurred near the Bessemer quarry, which is a quarry with similar characteristics to the Vincent Hills.

The hazardous holes can easily occur on innocent neighboring properties.

All these concerns impact the health and safety of those living on and around the Coosa River/Lay Lake area. We urge you to take immediate action to reconsider the wisdom of implementing the plan to discharge pollutants into our air and water.

Art Giddens