One week after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shut down operations at New Hope Crushed Stone and Lime in Solebury, Pa., the DEP said the company had complied with the agency’s order and it was allowed to reopen about two weeks later, according to The Intelligencer.
The company was shut down after it missed a DEP reclamation deadline for a mining pit. New Hope Crushed Stone and Lime cited quarry trespassers, rainy weather and a high employee turnover rate as reasons the DEP deadline was “impossible to meet.”
Since 2014, the DEP has given the company two deadlines to put varying amounts of fill in the pit at the quarry off Phillips Mill Road. The shutdown order came after the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ruled the quarry’s excavation was a “public nuisance” and linked it to nearby sinkholes, including some on the Solebury School grounds.
In January 2016, the department ordered the company to fill in 621,392 cu. yd. of backfill by March 2019. When the company fell behind schedule, the DEP ordered it to fill in a separate 76,868 cu. yd. of backfill between August 2016 and July 1.
When workers missed the second deadline by 12,835 cu. yd., the DEP shut down the mining operation. The DEP lifted the shutdown after quarry inspections confirmed preliminary data. These inspections included a drone flyover, during which the DEP took photographs and turned them into a topographic map to estimate how much backfill the workers had placed, said department spokeswoman Virginia Cain.
Filling in the quarry will eventually turn it into a lake fed by Primrose Creek, which the company is working to restore, also by 2019.
“It is our goal to fully reclaim this property and meet our responsibilities but also so we can achieve the greatest property use for the land as we look to our next phase,” company executives Christina Cursley and Greg Rodrigo wrote in a June letter to DEP officials. “We are doing our best and working hard.”