COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A group of Lexington County homeowners is trying another tactic in their efforts to slow or stop construction of a rock quarry in their rural community.
On Monday, members of the Ridge Protection Coalition took their criticisms of the Vulcan Materials Company plan to the South Carolina Mining Council.
For more than three years, Vulcan has been taking steps to build a new quarry on 553 acres near Highway 1 and the communities of Batesburg-Leesville and Gilbert.
The project will replace the 125-year-old quarry in Columbia's Olympia neighborhood. DHEC approved a construction permit in late December.
Coalition members believe the new quarry will generate water, noise, dust, traffic and safety problems and devalue their homes.
Among the first witnesses before the council, property owner Jane Griffin. For nearly 50 years, she's lived on a 44-acre tract that is now close to the Vulcan site.
"I love it because I can walk around and I love it because I have plenty of room," Griffin told us. "I can do what I want to do."
Griffin says her property would be the closest to the quarry pit, less than 1,100 feet away. Witness Richard Halsall says he's concerned about the quarry's impact on water supplies.
"We have four thoroughbreds at home," Halsall testified. "If we lose water for any amount of time, our horses are going to die."
Vulcan Materials attorney John Hodge says with more than 360 quarries operating nationwide, the company knows what it's doing and how to deal with potential problems.
He says the company has taken extra steps to lessen the quarry's impact on Lexington County.
"This is probably a much stricter permit in terms of the buffering, in terms of other work that's been done," Hodge told WIS News 10. "DHEC has applied the law very fairly and actually required a little more of Vulcan than say other facilities. It's actually a much more protective facility than many others in South Carolina."
Attorneys say testimony in the hearing will likely take much of the week.