Watch a Video about the Carrara Quarry and its neighbors
Rocks versus People
How a low income neighborhood with a contaminated aquifer is fighting to protect water supplies, health, and properties from a quarry with an 18-year history of being a bad neighbor.
789 Baker Brook Road, Danby Vermont 05739 (802) 446-2094 www.vce.org
The J.P. Carrara & Sons Aggregate Quarry

In December, 2004, J.P. Carrara & Sons Inc. filed an application to expand its dolomite quarry (in operation since 1988) in Clarendon, Vermont, to increase the depth of the quarry from 70 feet to 175 feet and increase the blasting loads from 2500 pounds total and 250 pounds per delay to 6500 pounds total.

In September, 2005, the District One Environmental Commission issued a permit that allows the quarry to deepen to 175 feet deep but reduces the blasting levels to 2500 pounds total and 116 pounds per delay. The District Commission also placed conditions on the permit which must be fulfilled prior to operating, including shifting the presumption of damage to water supplies and structures to the quarry operations.

J.P. Carrara & Sons appealed the permit to Environmental Court. Neighbors filed a cross-appeal. The case was heard in Vermont's Environmental Court April 3, 5, 6 and May 1, 2, 3, 2006.

The State of Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources participated in the case in support of the quarry deepening. ANR staff testified that the quarry deepening will not have undue adverse impacts on neighboring water supplies and wetlands, and will not cause the gasoline contamination to spread. ANR staff relied primarily on studies done by the Carrara's hydrogeologist to reach their conclusions.

In November, 2007, Environmental Court Judge Thomas Durkin issued a permit to the Carrara quarry allowing the expansion to 175 feet deep with blasting levels of 6500 pounds with 2500 pounds per delay.

The Carrara Quarry's Neighbors & Neighborhood

The Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park (built in 1974) is located about 1600 feet south of the Carrara Quarry on Route 103 in Clarendon. Nine families live in the mobile home park, which was purchased by J.P. Carrara & Sons in 1995. The Carraras have been closing the park by attrition and are delaying maintenance until failures occur. Park residents have been experiencing major failures of water and sewer llines. Their water is full of sediment, is often over- or under-chlorinated, and is treated with an air stripper to filter out gasoline contaminants.

South of the mobile home park are two stores where loose fittings resulted in leaking underground storage tanks, which were identified in 1990. In addition to the air stripper at the mobile home park, more than half a dozen private homes have carbon filtration systems to filter out the gasoline contaminants -- MTBE, benzene, and others.

Neighbors allege that quarry blasting shakes homes, causes items to fall off shelves and break, causes cracks in walls and windows, causes damage to water and sewer lines, and is shocking even when they know the blast is coming. They are concerned that deepening the quarry and increasing the blasting load will deplete the aquifer, spread the contamination or cause more contamination from the UST still in use, damage their properties, and cause harm to the wetlands and wildlife that surround the quarry property.

Neighbors appealed the Nov. 2007 Environmental Court approval of the quarry expansion to the Vermont Supreme Court. The Vermont Supreme Court has notified attorneys that they will be considering the case in March 2008. A decision will be issued at some unknown time in the future.