THS students tour Carmeuse Longview

ALABASTER – Students in Thompson High School’s AP Environmental Science class got an inside look at the operations of local lime and limestone producer, Carmeuse Longview, during a field trip on Oct. 17.

During the field trip, THS students learned about the various products produced by Carmeuse and the measures the company takes to protect the environment. They also went on a tour of the production plant and quarry.

Carmeuse produces quicklime, crushed limestone, milled limestone and chemical grade limestone. These products are used in several markets, such as civil engineering/construction, iron, steel and paper industries, flue gas treatment, wastewater treatment, building materials and agriculture.

The Longview facility has been operational since the 1870s and encompasses about 2,000 acres. The facility uses about 400 acres at given time. The remaining land is used as a buffer between the plant and the community. The plant mines 2.7 million tons of limestone each year and produces over 600,000 tons of lime each year.

Site operations manager Doyle Hurst said the facility utilizes extensive water testing procedures to make sure water used during the production process is clean before it is deposited into waterways. In this area, the facility discharges into Buck Creek and Camp Branch Creek.

“We take samples of water at all of our discharge points to make sure we’re not putting anything harmful in the water,” Hurst said.

The plant closely monitors rainfall and water runoff around the plant. It also utilizes dust collection systems to minimize dust going into the air.

AP Environmental Science teacher Brianna Peterson said the field trip “fits beautifully” with the AP curriculum.

“We are currently studying mineral resources, mining, rock cycles, sedimentary rock and environmental preservation methods,” Peterson said. “I loved that the kids were able to learn about Carmeuse’s air and water pollution prevention efforts and what they do to restore habitats to their original state. I really wanted them to learn more about what’s right here in their back yard. It’s also important for them to see different career options that are available to them.”

Eleventh-grader Gabrielle Griffin said she’s probably driven by the plant hundreds of times and never knew what was going on there. An area of interest for her is the impact that humans have on the environment, so she enjoyed learning about the ways Carmeuse works to protect the environment and wildlife.

“I also appreciate that they try not to be wasteful,” she said. “They explained to us how they try to reuse everything that goes in to the production process.”

Peterson said Carmeuse reached out to Thompson High School and invited them to tour the plant. Hurst said it’s the plant’s goal to partner with local schools to educate students about what they do and to help them understand the science behind it.