Dust debate: Residents and doctors oppose proposed gravel pit expansion

Local News

POINT OF THE MOUNTAIN (News4Utah) – A proposed expansion to a gravel mine is causing concern for some nearby residents and doctors.

Geneva Rock has asked the Draper City Council to rezone 72.9 acres so they can can expand their gravel pit operations at the Point of the Mountain and that request is causing a real dust-up.

Dust up in the air from the mine is a big concern for Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, according to Executive Director Jonny Vasic.

“The reason we’re opposed to it is that the dust from that mine puts out a lot of unhealthy things into the air,” Vasic said.

Homeowners just south of the mine in Traverse Mountain say blowing dust from the mine is already causing problems.

“There’s days that we don’t even take the girls outside it’s just so dusty,” Travis Ostmann said. “My girls have allergies so does my wife so it really factors in in that sense. Their allergies are constantly kind of heightened you know they’re dealing with those. Sneezing, coughing, it tough for them to breath at times when it’s really bad when they’re up there operating.”

Lori LaMarr, who lives just down the street with her husband and daughter, says she’s against the expansion.

“It scares us, we don’t want that,” LaMarr said. “This whole street we’ve had probably 4 or 5 of our neighbors sell their house in the last two months…Because of the mine.”

Geneva Rock spokesperson Dave Kallas says the company recently spent $30 million to keep the dust on the ground.

“Geneva Rock has a lot of tools its using to mitigate dust and it’s meeting and exceeding all state and federal guidelines,” Kallas said. “That includes water trucks, water cannons, sprinklers, drop point sprayers.”

Kallas cited a 2006 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study of sand and gravel pits in Brigham City that concluded dust levels there “pose no apparent public health hazard to the general population.”

Vasic disagrees.

“We know dust particles are dangerous especially silica can cause silicosis,” Vasic said. “If it wasn’t dangerous, why would the EPA have a level and a restriction on how much they can put out? Why would there be fines levelled against them to say ‘You’ve put out too much dangerous dust and pollution into the air’?”

Meanwhile LaMarr says her family’s future is also up in the air because they may move.

“We don’t want to be in a place where it’s not safe for our little girl,” La Marr said. “We want to continue to grow our family and we thought, we thought this was a safe place.”

The issue is scheduled to be addressed at The Draper City Council meeting Wednesday, September 12th at 6 p.m.

For more information, go to http://www.draper.ut.us/1349/Geneva

Geneva Rock | Draper City, UT – Official Website


Draper City has received an application from Geneva Rock to rezone a portion of its property to expand mining operations and to create a conservation easement on Steep Mountain.

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