While the New Hope Crushed Stone quarry can continue digging deeper for now, a local environmental group has forced it to begin restoration work on the devastated Primose Creek in the latest chapter of a long-running legal battle.
Restoration and maintenance work vital to the recovery of Primrose Creek will be required under a consent order that the Primrose Creek Watershed Association (PCWA) and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) have entered into with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) and New Hope Crushed Stone (NHCS).
The consent order resolves an appeal filed by PCWA and PennFuture that contested PaDEP’s issuance of a permit revision in 2011 allowing NHCS to dig to a deeper level at its quarry in Solebury Township.In 2010, PaDEP placed Primrose Creek on the state’s official list of impaired waters, identifying the quarrying operations as one cause of some of the listed impairments.
While allowing the quarry to keep digging, the consent order requires NHCS to perform remedial work that PCWA and PennFuture say they could not have obtained through their appeal, including 1) stabilization of sinkholes that are impacting Primrose Creek, 2) stabilization of the channel upstream and downstream from the sinkholes to facilitate future restoration of stream flow when groundwater elevations have recovered after active mining, 3) cleaning and maintaining the culvert by NHCS under the PECO right-of-way to limit sediment accumulation, and 4) discharge water quality monitoring by NHCS to ensure compliance with all National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limits. The quarry will also monitor the amount of Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in the water it discharges into the Creek no less than once a week, and within 24 hours after certain rainfall events, and data will be shared with PCWA, under the agreement.
Kevin Morrissey, president of PCWA, said: “This is a significant step for the New Hope/Solebury community toward returning a historical, cultural and environmentally significant area to natural sustainability. The health of this area is a concern to those within and beyond the borders of this watershed.”