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Rock Hill Quarry

This page was last updated on January 13, 2021

The Rock Hill Quarry, owned by Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC, located in East Rockhill Township, Bucks County, has been active since it was first permitted in 1976. In 2017, R.E. Pierson was awarded a contract from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for turnpike construction projects and was the contract operator of the Rock Hill Quarry. In May 2020, Hanson and Pierson terminated their contract; Hanson will remain the owner/permittee, while Pierson will no longer operate at this site.

Information concerning applications, approval, and ongoing asbestos investigation associated with the quarry can be found below. Additional related documents may be found in DEP files maintained at the Pottsville District Mining or Southeast Regional Office. For more information on scheduling a file review, please visit DEP's Public Records page.

Site Facts

Municipality: East Rock Hill Township
Permitted Since: 1976
Owner: Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC
Permits Currently Issued:
1. Surface Mining Permit (requires modification)
2. NPDES Permit (renewed November 2018; under appeal here)

Current Status

As of December 21, 2020, mining and related activities remain under a cessation order.

On December 5, 2018, DEP was notified of a positive asbestos test result from a sample of rock collected at the Quarry. DEP immediately ordered the cessation of all mining, rock crushing, sizing, and other related activities. The cessation will remain in effect until rescinded, in writing, by DEP. More information regarding the asbestos investigation can be found below. The cessation refers to quarrying activities; some activities, such as sampling, monitoring, and inspections may still be observable.

At this time, the long-term future of the Rock Hill Quarry is still undetermined. DEP must work with the property owner to assess potential future options for the site, while continuing to investigate and assess the presence of Naturally Occurring Asbestos.

As DEP works with the current owner/permittee to collect additional necessary data, the department is continuing to evaluate all available information and resources, including that which has been shared by stakeholders, sister agencies, and the community. The health and safety of residents, employees, and the environment remains a top priority and DEP is committed to continued transparency as the future of the site is evaluated.

Community Updates

To subscribe to updates, please send an email to RA-EPMining@pa.gov


Non-Coal Surface Mining



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Non-Coal Surface Mining – Naturally Occurring Asbestos Investigation

Summary

The Rock Hill Quarry is large noncoal surface mine. The mineral actinolite, which can sometimes contain asbestos fibers has been found at the site. The Department has therefore required testing and investigations to determine if actual asbestos fibers are present within the rock being mined and in future mining areas. The initial and subsequent investigation and sampling did not identify asbestos. However, in December 2018, a rock sample tested positive for asbestos fibers. The Department, upon notice of the positive sample analysis, ceased all mining and crushing activities at the site, and they remain ceased at this time. The Department also required additional testing, sampling and investigation be undertaken at the site; and a plan outlining that proposed work will be submitted to the Department.

Timeline

On January 13, 2020, East Rockhill Township sent a letter to DEP reiterating concerns about the 500 ton/year removal requirement, DEP’s letter to Hanson on 12/22/20, and Hanson’s characterization of this issue in its 10/9/2020.

On January 5, 2021, DEP denied Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC’s request for an extension to provide a response to DEP’s 11/18/20 Technical Deficiency Letter

On December 23, 2020, Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC requested an extension on their response to DEP’s 11/18/20 Technical Deficiency Letter.

On December 22, 2020, DEP sent a letter to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania LLC, acknowledging that the removal of the required tonnage of minerals is precluded by DEP’s December 5, 2018 order creasing mining and rock crushing activities at the Rock Hill Quarry.

On November 25, 2020 the Department of Health sent an acknowledgement letter to the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance in response to the November 16, 2020 letter submitted by REPA regarding health impacts related to quarry operations.

On November 18, 2020, DEP sent a technical deficiency letter to Hanson Aggregates, PA, LLC, requested additional and updated information for the Rock Hill Quarry Operations. R.E. Pierson Materials Corp., has terminated its contract operator relationship with Hanson Aggregates. Hanson Aggregates is required to update information previously submitted in an existing permit modification application that was accepted by DEP on February 20, 2018.

On November 18, 2020, DEP received a letter from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance concerning the response they sent to the Department of Health regarding the presence of Naturally Occurring Asbestos at the Rockhill Quarry.

On November 16, 2020, Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance sent a letter to the Department of Health concerning the September 16, 2020, correspondence from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection, regarding Naturally Occurring Asbestos at the Rockhill Quarry.

On October 22, 2020, DEP received correspondence from East Rockhill Township regarding the October 9, 2020 letter from Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania, LLC and the minimum tonnage removal requirement.

On October 13, 2020, DEP approved Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania, LLC’s September 18, 2020 work plan for Hydroseeding 4 areas of the Quarry. A DEP inspector will be on site for the duration of the activity; no earth moving equipment will be used and a maximum speed limit of 15 MPH will be adhered to.

On October 9, 2020, DEP received correspondence from Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania, LLC regarding the annual minimum tonnage removal requirement.

On October 6, 2020, DEP sent response letters to East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors and Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance regarding comments made about the analysis of Rock Hill Quarry water and rock samples submitted to DEP by Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania, LLC on August 14, 2020.

On September 18, 2020, DEP received correspondence from Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania, LLC, outlining its revegetation plan for the Rock Hill Quarry site. This plan has been accepted by DEP.

On September 17, 2020, DEP received comments from East Rockhill Township on Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania LLC’s, August 14, 2020 TEM and petrographic analysis submission.

On September 16, 2020, DEP received a letter from the PA Department of Health, responding to a Fall 2019 request made by DEP for an environmental health consultation concerning environmental and human health risks of exposure to naturally occurring asbestos at the Rockhill Quarry.

On September 1, 2020, DEP received correspondence from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance and a technical memorandum from Erskine Environmental Consulting, Inc., with comments on the August 14, 2020 submission from Hanson regarding TEM and petrographic analysis.

On August 14, 2020, DEP received correspondence from Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania LLC, which included the requested TEM and petrographic analysis, a requirement under DEP’s April 17 response to comments on the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report. The purpose of this information is to determine the extent and distribution of Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) at the site. DEP’s review of this submission began on August 17.

On August 13, 2020, DEP received an email from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance regarding sampling and analysis methods, the future of the site, and continued concerns about Naturally Occurring Asbestos at the quarry.

On August 4, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors for their July 24, 2020 letter regarding their concern of the August 14, 2020 extension which was given to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, for submission of rock sample testing results as a result of its desire to ensure that a more inclusive analytic methodology would be followed.

On July 31, 2020, DEP sent an time extension approval letter to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation to continue removing equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site until August 14, 2020.

On July 30, 2020, DEP received an email from R. E. Pierson Materials Corporation requesting an additional two more weeks to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site.

On July 24, 2020, DEP received a letter from East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors expressing concern from the Residents of the Township about the extended deadline that DEP gave to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, for reporting transmission electron microscopy and petrographic analysis of rock samples until August 14, 2020.

On July 23, 2020, DEP sent a letter to Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., responding to their July 8, 2020 correspondence outlining the extended deadline to August 14, 2020 for the submission of rock sample testing results as a result of its desire to ensure that a more inclusive analytic methodology will be followed that was mentioned in DEP’s April 17, 2020 letter to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC.

On July 8, 2020, DEP received a letter from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance regarding the extension of the due date from June 30, 2020 until August 14, 2020 for reporting TEM and petrographic analysis of rock samples described in DEP’s April 17, 2020 letter to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania. LLC.

On July 2, 2020, DEP sent an approval letter to Hanson Aggregates extending the due date for TEM and petrographic analysis of rock samples described in DEP’s April 17, 2020 letter from June 30, 2020 until August 14, 2020.

On July 2, 2020, DEP sent an approval letter to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation’s request for an extension until July 31, 2020 to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site.

On July 2, 2020, DEP received an email from R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation requesting additional time to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site until July 31, 2020.

On July 2, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance for their June 26, 2020 letter urging the permanent closure of the quarry.

On July 2, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance for their June 26, 2020 letter providing DEP with Erskine’s comments.

On July 2, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to Congressman Fitzpatrick for his June 25, 2020 letter urging an independent geologic investigation.

On June 26, 2020, DEP received a letter from the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc. that provided links to letters written by 11 entities urging the permanent closure of the Rock Hill Quarry.

On June 26, 2020, DEP received a letter from the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc. on behalf of Erskine Environmental Consulting, Inc., (EEC) with comments pertaining to Hanson’s response to DEP’s April 17, 2020 letter.

On June 25, 2020, DEP received a letter from Congressman Fitzpatrick requesting an independent geologic investigation conducted by an experienced professional geologist to measure the amount of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) at the quarry and the impacts of the NOA throughout the surrounding environment.

On June 2, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to R.E. Pierson approving their extension request until July 4, 2020 to remove their mobile equipment from Rock Hill Quarry. 

On June 1, 2020, DEP received an email from R.E. Pierson requesting additional time to remove their mobile equipment until July 4, 2020 from the Rock Hill Quarry Site.   

On May 29, 2020, DEP received correspondence from Hanson Aggregate Pennsylvania LLC, addressing the items required for submission by May 31, 2020.  The items include Comments 1, 2, and 3 of DEP’s March 2, 2020 Qualitative Geologic Survey Report comment letter; the request for a Revegetation Plan describing disturbed areas capable of supporting plant growth and a plan to revegetate them congruent with current operational restrictions; and the request for a Draft Air Monitoring Plan that incorporates monitoring for airborne asbestos exposure during periods of limited activity at Rock Hill quarry, as well as during inactivity.

On May 4, 2020, DEP sent an approval letter to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation’s request for an extension until June 4, 2020 to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site.

On May 4, 2020, DEP received an email from R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation requesting an extension to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site until June 4.

On April 17, 2020, DEP sent an extension letter for Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, to respond to Comments 1, 2, and 3 of the March 2, 2020 Qualitative Geologic Survey Report comment letter to May 31, 2020. DEP extended the time for Hanson to respond to the last paragraph for the same letter, which requests additional testing of existing samples to June 30, 2020. This additional time allows for additional analysis and reporting to be done in order to provide the information required in the last paragraph. DEP also requires Hanson to revegetate disturbed areas capable of supporting plant growth.

On April 15, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick for his April 10, 2020 comments on Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC’s nine-month extension request for their Qualitive Geologic Survey Report.

On April 13, 2020, DEP sent an approval letter to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation’s request for an extension until May 4, 2020 to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site.

On April 10, 2020, DEP received an email from R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation requesting additional time to remove equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site until May 4, 2020.

On April 10, 2020, DEP received a letter from Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick to consider opposing the request made by Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, to seek a nine-month extension to address an immediate asbestos issue to their quarry.

On April 10, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors for their comments on Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC’s, request for extension to response to DEP’s comments on the Qualitive Geologic Survey Report.

On April 8, 2020, DEP received comments from East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors regarding Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC’s, request for extension to response to DEP’s comments on the Qualitive Geologic Survey Report.

On April 6, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., for their April 3, 2020 comments on the Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC report.

On April 3, 2020, DEP received comments from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., regarding the extension request that was submitted by Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, for the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report prepared by Erskine Environmental Consulting, Inc.

On April 2, 2020, DEP received a letter from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, requesting a nine-month extension until January 6, 2021 to comprehensively address DEP’s comments listed in the March 2, 2020 and September 20, 2019 letters for the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report for the Rock Hill Quarry Site.

On April 1, 2020, DEP sent a approval letter to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, for their March 13, 2020 Corrective Action Plan response.

On March 13, 2020, DEP received a Corrective Action Plan in response to DEP’s Notice of Violation issued dated February 20, 2020 from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC.

On March 5, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to R.E. Pierson Material Corporation approving their request to remove their equipment from the Rock Hill Quarry site. 

On March 4, 2020, DEP received an email from R.E. Pierson Material Corporation requesting permission to pick up their equipment at Rock Hill Quarry site.

On March 4, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to the Bucks County Commissioners for their February 19, 2020 letter requesting to permanently close the operations at the Rockhill Quarry due to the health risks to the surrounding community due to the presence of naturally occurring asbestos.

On March 2, 2020, DEP sent Hanson Aggregates, Pennsylvania, LLC, comments and questions regarding the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report that was submitted on November 15, 2019. 

On February 19, 2020, DEP received a letter from the Bucks County Commissioners on behalf of the residents of East Rockhill Township requesting to permanently close the operations at the Rockhill Quarry due to the health risks to the surrounding community due to the presence of naturally occurring asbestos. 

On February 18, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., for their February 13, 2020 comments on the January 30, 2020 submission from Earthres Group, Inc., regarding the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report and their February 14 & 16, 2020 comments regarding EPA and USGS position on R.J. Lee Group Protocols.

On February 14, 2020 and February 16, 2020, DEP received comments from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., prepared by Erskine Environmental Consulting, Inc., (EEC) regarding EPA and USGS Position on R.J. Lee Group (RJLG) Protocols. The comments focuses attention on key documentation showing that the RJLG protocol to reduce or eliminate the reporting of asbestos has been deemed invalid by key regulatory agencies, and representations by RJLG that the methodology has been approved by EPA are not factually correct. The purpose is to provide DEP with information needed to draw its own conclusion regarding the validity of test data, and by extension, the validity of the sampling plan itself.

On February 13, 2020, DEP received comments from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., prepared by Erskine Environmental Consulting, Inc., in response to the Earthres Group, Inc., January 30, 2020 comments on the Qualitative Geological Survey Report. Since many of Earthres comments focus on subjects and opinions that originated in EEC’s previous submittals, Dr. Bradley Erskine has reviewed Earthres letter and offers a rebuttal to inaccuracies, misstatements and unsupported conclusions that are present through the document.

On February 11, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to Representative Staats for his January 28, 2020 concerns for the residents residing near the Rock Hill Quarry. 

On February 7, 2020, the Department of Health sent Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., a letter regarding the potential health risks associated with naturally occurring asbestos exposure.

On January 31, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., for their January 28, 2020 comments regarding the following: the January 15, 2020 response by RJ Lee Group, regarding the inquiry for an SOP used for differential counting; the January 8, 2020 EMSL Analytic, Inc., comments regarding the inquiry for an SOP used for differential counting; and the January 16, 2020 Community Update from DEP.

On January 30, 2020, DEP received a comment response from Earthres Group, Inc., regarding East Rockhill Township’s comments on the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report. 

On January 28, 2020, DEP received a letter from Representative Staats expressing his concerns for the residents of East Rockhill Township with the asbestos issue at the Rock Hill Quarry.  

On January 28, 2020, DEP received a letter from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., regarding the following: the January 15, 2020 response by RJ Lee Group, regarding the inquiry for an SOP used for differential counting; the January 8, 2020 EMSL Analytic, Inc., comments regarding the inquiry for an SOP used for differential counting; and the January 16, 2020 Community Update from DEP.

On January 21, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgment letter to Erskine Environmental Consulting for their December 2, 2019, request for Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for the asbestos differential counting method utilized by EMSL Laboratories and R.J. Lee Group for the identification of asbestos at the Rock Hill Quarry.

On January 17, 2020, DEP sent an acknowledgement letter to Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., for their comments on the Qualitative Geologic Survey Report from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, and the asbestos and application regulations prepared by RH Lee Group.

On January 16, 2020, DEP received comments from Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc., for the November 15, 2019, Qualitative Geologic Survey Report from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, and the November 25, 2019 asbestos and application regulations prepared by RH Lee Group.

On January 15, 2020, DEP received a letter from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC, regarding the methodology used to differentiate asbestiform amphibole fibers from their non-asbestiform analogs in Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s).

On January 8, 2020, DEP received Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for the asbestos differential counting method on what constitutes asbestiform structures and the decision making process used by EMSL Analytical, Inc., during analysis on DEP samples.



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Non-Coal Surface Mining - Inspection Reports



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Non-Coal Surface Mining – NPDES

On January 26, 2018, DEP received 4th Quarter 2017 NPDES Discharge Monitoring Reports from Hanson Aggregates PA.

Air Quality

There are no active Air Quality permits issued for this site; past involvement with R.E. Pierson is now null. All historical information has been archived below.



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