Community meeting: July 12 gathering to focus on quarry concerns

Thursday, June 27, 2019

By Scott Loftis

and Samantha Jones

CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

A public meeting will be held in mid-July to discuss residents’ concerns over exploratory drilling to determine the feasibility of a limestone quarry in the Winona township near Keels Creek and the Kings River.

District 4 Justice of the Peace Marty Johnson, whose district includes Winona, said Tuesday that the meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 12, in the Community Room at Carroll Electric headquarters in Berryville.

More than a dozen concerned residents addressed the quorum court at its regular monthly meeting on June 17 about the exploratory drilling on a 629-acre tract of land off of Rock House Road.

Those citizens expressed their concerns about the potential impact to the environment, including sediment runoff that they believe could have an adverse effect on water quality, as well as noise generated by mining operations, declining property values, damage to roads that weren’t designed to accommodate heavy equipment and other adverse effects. One speaker said she has heard what “sounds like muffled explosions” coming from the site of the potential quarry, and another presented what she said was a core sample that she found while hiking in the area. Another speaker said he was told by a driller that limestone had been found “100 feet down.”

The property where the exploratory drilling is being conducted is divided into several smaller parcels, with ownership being held by three holding companies — Keels Creek LLC, Shady Grove Property LLC and Trigger Gap Property LLC.

Keels Creek Property LLC has already been cited for one violation of the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Act after an inspector from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality observed sediment runoff in an unnamed tributary of Keels Creek from road widening activity on an existing access road. The inspector visited the site after multiple residents filed complaints with ADEQ.

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