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Rock Hill Quarry

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 is the contract operator of the Rock Hill Quarry.

Information concerning applications and approvals associated with the quarry operations 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.

Note: The review of air quality applications is completed by the Southeast Regional Office. Persons wishing to review the public file for the applications associated with the project should schedule a file review with the appropriate office.

Site Facts

Municipality: East Rock Hill Township
Permitted Since: 1976
Owner: Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC
Operator: R.E. Pierson
Permits Currently Issued:
1. Surface Mining Permit (requires modification)
2. NPDES Permit (renewed November 2018; under appeal here)
3. Asphalt Plant Permit (issued September 7, 2018)
4. Crusher Plan Approval (issued on December 5, 2018; under appeal here and here)

Current Status

On August 21, 2019, DEP received laboratory reports for its independent core drilling and boulder sampling. Upon review, it was determined that Hanson and DEP utilized two different testing protocols that showed inconsistent results. On September 20, 2019, DEP sent a letter to Hanson requiring them to retest their samples using a methodology similar to what DEP used for its samples.

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 The cessation will remain in effect until rescinded, in writing, by DEP.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.

Certain activities at the site are still permissible, most notably, the construction of the rock crusher and sampling/monitoring activities. The cessation will remain in place until all the following items are submitted, reviewed, and deemed satisfactory by DEP:

  • Enhanced Asbestos Assessment Plan – not yet submitted to DEP.
  • Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan – conditionally approved by DEP in April 2019.
    • Conditional approval allowed for the sampling of recently processed aggregate stockpiles, existing water bodies and core drillings.
    • More information on sampling and test results can be found below.
  • Asbestos Air Monitoring Plan/Fugitive Dust and Asbestos Mitigation Plan – under review by DEP.

What are DEP's next steps?

  • DEP's Air Quality program is reviewing the Air Monitoring Plan/Dust Mitigation Plan and subsequent comments to ensure that plans are adequate for the safe operation of the site.
  • Review core drilling results (per Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan).
  • Significant revisions to the Surface Mining Permit are required before the rock crusher and asphalt plant can be operational.

Community Updates

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

Non-Coal Surface Mining

On June 13, 2019, DEP reviewed and approved the revised NOV abatement plan submitted on May 9, 2019, to address the erosion and sedimentation improvements to the Sediment Trap 1 area at the Rock Hill Quarry.

On May 9, 2019, DEP received a revised abatement plan in response to DEP's notice of violation contained in the March 22, 2019, Non-Coal inspection report from Hanson Aggregates, PA, LLC for Rock Hill Quarry.

On November 28, 2018, DEP corrected existing permit No. 7974SM1, the purpose of the correction was to renew the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit No. PA0594121.

On November 27, 2018, DEP received the bond submittal information from Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC for the Rock Hill Quarry in the amount of $1,248,220.

On February 21, 2018, DEP received an update of the Rock Hill Quarry Module 16: Large Noncoal Blast Plan from Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC.

On February 20, 2018, DEP received updated permit documents and bond increment application from EarthRes Group, Inc., in response to the technical deficiency letter that was sent to Hanson Aggregates PA, Inc., on January 22, 2018.

On January 22, 2018, DEP sent a Technical Deficiency letter to Hanson Aggregate PA, LLC, requesting updated permit modules and a Bonding Increment Application with updated calculations.

On December 28, 2017, DEP requested a bond adjustment for Rock Hill Quarry, including updated Module10: Operational Information and Module 18: Reclamation Map information.

On December 18, 2017, DEP sent a Notice of Permit Correction to revise Module 3: Ownership/Compliance information to acknowledge R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation Mining License No. 20880 and Mellott Company, Mining License No. 1890, as contractor Operators on Rock Hill Quarry mine site.

On March 15, 1989, DEP issued a NPDES permit renewal and correction with a new NPDES permit number.

On July 19, 1978, DEP approved a NPDES Individual Permit – Noncoal to Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC for Rock Hill Quarry.

On October 13, 1976, DEP issued a Mine Drainage Permit to East Rockhill Township, Bucks County.

Inspection Reports – Non-Coal Surface Mining

DEP approved Noncoal Inspection Reports to Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC, for Rock Hill Quarry.

Air Quality

Compliance and Enforcement Information – Air Quality

Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty – Air Quality

On September 4, 2019, DEP entered into a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty with R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation for the May 24, 2018 violation for poured foundations for the primary crusher, installed structural steel for the primary crusher feed hopper and brought associated equipment such as conveyors and screen components on-site at Rick Hill Quarry without a valid, issued plan approval or operating permit from DEP.

Plan Approvals & Operating Permits – Air Quality

On December 5, 2018, DEP issued a plan approval to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation to construct a 1,000 ton per hour nonmetallic mineral processing plant equipped with a wet dust suppression system, which will result in the existing Surface Mining Permit to be revised.

On September 7, 2018, DEP issued 2 General Plan Approval and General Operating Permits to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation.

On March 14, 2018, DEP issued 2 General Plan Approval and General Operating Permits to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation to replace the equipment in the General Permits issued on December 27, 2017.

  • GP9-09-0083 - Diesel or No. 2 Fuel-Fired Internal Combustion Engines to Power an Existing Portable Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Plant
  • GP3-09-0157 – Portable nonmetallic mineral processing plant

On December 27, 2017, DEP issued 2 General Plan Approval and General Operating Permits to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation.

Inspection Reports - Air Quality

Notices of Violations - Air Quality

On May 30, 2018, DEP received the abatement plan in response to the Notice of Violation.

On May 24, 2018, DEP issued a Notice of Violation for poured foundations for the primary crusher, installed structural steel for the primary crusher feed hopper, and brought associated equipment such as conveyors and screen components on-site at the facility without a valid, issued plan approval or operating permit from DEP.

Correspondence - Air Quality

On May 17, 2019, DEP received the proposed Asbestos Air Monitoring and Fugitive Dust and Asbestos Mitigation Plans for Rock Hill Quarry from R. E. Pierson Material Corporation.

On January 4, 2019, DEP sent comments on the draft Asbestos Air Monitoring Plan for the East Rock Hill Quarry Site.

On December 21, 2018, R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation submits their Draft Asbestos Air Monitoring Plan for the Rock Hill Quarry Site.

On August 30, 2018, DEP received General Permit Applications for Hot Mix Asphalt Plant and Temporary Diesel Engines from Fox Rothschild, LLP.

On August 20, 2018, DEP received a letter from East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors in respect to the pending air quality permit application for Hot Mix Asphalt Plant and Temporary Diesel Engines submitted by R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation.

On August 15, 2018, DEP sent a letter to R.E. Pierson Material Corporation for Visible Emissions Test Protocols for opacity testing on the portable crusher at Rock Hill Quarry.

On August 3, 2018, DEP received revised portions of the general plan approval and general operating permit application and revised emission calculations for the construction and operation of a portable hot mix asphalt plant and three temporary diesel generators to be located at Rock Hill Quarry.

On July 23, 2018, DEP received a letter from East Rockhill Township in response to R.E. Pierson Materials Corporation's submission for 1000 ton per hour crushing and screening plant application.

Naturally Occurring Asbestos Information

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 September 20, 2019, DEP sent a letter to Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, LLC after reviewing the results of the analytical testing for naturally occurring asbestos and is asking for additional information.

On September 2, 2019, Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc. (REPA) submitted a report prepared by Erskine Environmental Consulting, presenting technical review of four laboratory reports for core drilling and boulder sampling from June 26-27, 2019, and provided recommendations for additional testing and alternatives to avoid the potential exposure to residents and school children located near the Rock Hill Quarry site.

On June 6, 2019, Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, Inc. (REPA) submitted comments prepared by Erskine Environmental Consulting on the Geologic Investigations Hazardous Materials Naturally Occurring Asbestos Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan.

On April 30, 2019, DEP received a second set of comments on the Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan from East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors.

On April 30, 2019, DEP authorized Hanson Aggregates, PA, to conduct exploratory core drilling and bolder field sampling as described in the following plans.

  • April 3, 2019, DEP received a sampling plan designed to collect sufficient information for the preparation of a detailed Qualitative Geologic Survey of the site by EarthRes Group, Inc.
  • April 25, 2019, DEP received responses for comments that were submitted by DEP and East Rockhill Township for the Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan.

On April 30, 2019, DEP received dust suppression procedures for core drilling and bolder field analysis from Hanson Aggregates PA.

On April 25, 2019, DEP received EarthRes Group, Inc., responses for the comments that were submitted for the Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan.

On April 22, 2019, DEP sent comments, a NSSGA Mineral ID Guide, and excerpts from the Aggregates Handbook to Hanson Aggregates PA, for the Rock Hill Quarry Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan.

On April 17, 2019, DEP received East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors comments on the Qualitative Survey Sampling Plan for Rock Hill Quarry submitted by EarthRes Group, Inc.

On April 12, 2019, DEP reviewed and sent comments to EarthRes Group, Inc., for the Qualitative Survey Sampling Plan for Rock Hill Quarry.

On April 3, 2019, DEP received a Qualitative Geologic Survey Sampling Plan for the continued assessment of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) at the Rock Hill Quarry from EarthRes Group, Inc.

On December 19, 2018, DEP approved the information which was submitted by EarthRes Group, Inc., proposed a one-time background sampling plan for naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) in water, aggregate stockpiles, and crusher fines at the Rock Hill Quarry with conditions that the department reserves the right to modify or rescind the plan approval in the event of unforeseen geologic circumstances.

On December 19, 2018, DEP received a proposed naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) one-time background site operations sampling plan for several site operations from EarthRes Group, Inc.

On October 29, 2018, DEP received the 3rd Quarter 2018 Rock Hill Quarry naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) Monitoring Report from Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC.

On August 6, 2018, DEP received the 2nd Quarter 2018 Rock Hill Quarry naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) Monitoring Report from Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC.

On March 19, 2018, DEP with the assistance of EnviroTrac collected a water sample from the well located at the Rock Hill Quarry. The sample was analyzed for Perfluoro-octanesulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and sent to Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC.

On March 14, 2018, DEP received a Rock Hill Quarry NPDES renewal application from Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC, which included additional water samples to assess for the presence of asbestos.

On January 25, 2018, DEP approved the proposed monitoring plan for Rock Hill Quarry naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) and incorporated into Noncoal Surface Mining Permit No. 7974SM1. The Department lifts the cessation of all production drilling, blasting and crushing activities as requested on January 4, 2018.

On January 24, 2018, DEP received the Rock Hill Quarry naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) Monitoring Report from Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC.

On January 18, 2018, DEP received the Asbestos Investigation and testing results for Rock Hill Quarry from EarthRes Group, Inc.

On January 4, 2018, DEP ceased all production drilling, blasting and crushing activities at Rock Hill Quarry due to asbestos form materials may be present in the rock planned to be mined at the quarry.

Test Results

Hanson Aggregates PA, LLC, hired Test America and EMSL Analytical, Inc, to do testing at the Rock Hill Quarry.

On August 21, 2019, DEP received laboratory reports for DEP’s independent core drilling and boulder sampling.

On June 26 and 27, 2019, DEP received Laboratory Reports for core drilling and boulder sampling.

On May 29, 2019, DEP received a Laboratory Report including the analytical results for the surface water samples collected at the site on April 18, 2019.

On May 2, 2019, DEP received the Final Laboratory Report and Chain-of-Custody including the analytical results for the surface water samples collected at the site on April 18, 2019.  No asbestos fibers were detected in any of the water samples from Hanson Aggregates, PA. 

Monitoring Reports

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

Air Sampling

On December 12, 2018, Compliance Plus Services, Inc., provided map locations for North Rockhill Road.