Grand County commissioners address air quality concerns on County Road 5
The Grand County Board of Commissioners renewed a special use permit (SUP) for a concrete batch plant, agreeing to monitor the cumulative effects of three gravel pits and an asphalt plant operating off County Road 5 near Fraser. Air and water quality and truck traffic were concerns raised by three Tabernash residents at last Tuesday’s public hearing. Michael Refer of Aggregate Industries WCR Inc. requested a use permit renewal for a ready-mix concrete batch plant on 4.27 acres located at 2270 County Road 5.Other gravel pits nearby include Morrow & Sons Construction Inc. and Grand County/Benson. Both operate under special use permits. Everist Materials produces ready-mix concrete and asphalt in the Morrow pit. Air quality has become an issue, according to Robin Tollett of Tabernash, who brought photos of dust plumes generated by the asphalt plant and stressed the cumulative effect of multiple plants clustered along County Road 5. “The issue I have is that there is a need to treat these entities together,” Tollett said. Dr. Andy Arnold, also of Tabernash, added his concerns about water quality in nearby Crooked Creek.”There are no fish in Crooked Creek anymore. I didn’t see a single trout rise last summer.”And according to resident Jay Clough, the increased particulates in the air made breathing difficult, and truck traffic poses a threat to bicyclists and pedestrians. Commissioner James Newberry said these air quality concerns are not attributed specifically to Aggregate, the entity requesting the permit renewal.”I do believe this is an asphalt plant concern,” he said. “We do need to check the SUP and make sure they (Everist) are adhering to air quality regulations.”Regarding truck traffic complaints, Commissioner Newberry said upgrades were made to County Road 5 a few years ago and each plant will be responsible for its proportion of road improvements, like accel/decel lanes, if needed. The BOCC also addressed concerns about Crooked Creek. East Grand Water Quality Board and the county have a contract with USGS to monitor Crooked Creek above and below Young Life Crooked Creek Ranch. The commissioners directed county staff to access this stream data, contact the DOW regarding fish habitat, and test creek water above and below the gravel pits. Aggregate’s Michael Refer explained how the plant handles processed water in a closed concrete-lined detention pond designed by a water engineer. Aggregate has a state-required Spill Prevention and Control Plan and Storm Water Management Plan which are reviewed twice a year.Commissioner Newberry requested both plans be submitted to county staff and made available for public review. The commissioners requested that this additional requirement be added to all SUP permits in the future.
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