Do we need a new 400-foot deep, 258-acre well that competes with our groundwater wells?
That’s Austin Quarry.
Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest aggregate producer, is proposing to open Madera County’s largest quarry ever, right near the intersection of Route 145 and Route 41. If approved, the project could permanently draw down groundwater wells for miles around.
The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and then vote on September 12, 2016, at 9 a.m.
Address: 200 W. 4th St., in downtown Madera. Be there, and be heard.
To Learn More:
Evaluation Of Potential Groundwater Impacts, Austin Quarry Project, Todd Groundwater, November 3, 2014.
What’s the Problem? Water levels in the Madera Groundwater Basin are already dropping. Now, Vulcan wants to carve a new 258-acre, 400-feet deep hole at the edge of the basin, less than 3 miles from Madera Ranchos. The result: Water gushing in from all sides, filling the quarry pit and substantially drawing down groundwater wells as much as 4 miles away. In the Ranchos, groundwater now at 10 feet below the surface could drop down as low as 50-100 feet.
Translation: Reduced well yields. Increased power costs. Corrosion and damage. And, where the water table drops low enough, a well that pumps nothing but air.
What does Vulcan say? They claim their enormous quarry pit will draw in only about 100 acre feet of water per year, which is less than a single well already operating on their property. But it’s bad science. Vulcan’s own data points to a number 40 times as large: 4,000 acre feet per year.