Vulcan Materials Company says it has taken measures to prevent further seepage of limestone particles from the company’s Kingsport quarry into the North Fork Holston River.
Vulcan was recently fined more than $30,000 after an estimated 3,217 cubic feet of limestone particles were discharged into the river, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
“This was an unusual event that occurred through underground springs not associated with our discharge,” the company said in a statement to News Channel 11. “As soon as we were aware, we coordinated with TDEC to rectify it.”
TDEC launched an investigation after the agency received a complaint in July 2018 about “a milky white discoloration” observed on the river near the company’s Kingsport quarry. TDEC inspectors discovered a buildup of limestone particles up to 15 inches deep in the river.
“Because high water in the river moved the sediment downstream soon after it was discovered, our focus is on preventing future seepage,” Vulcan said. “We have re-graded the plant and stockpile areas in a manner which allows for better surface drainage of these spaces, and re-directed surface water from the facility into the quarry pit where possible. Vulcan is putting in a network of pipes to route any water on our property away from seeps and into our settling ponds.”
The company says it hasn’t observed any additional seepage into the river.
“We are routinely monitoring seeps for presence of flow and sediment,” Vulcan said. “During recent inspections, the water from the seeps has been clear and did not appear to be transporting limestone sediment. Because geology and hydrology are always changing, we will continue to monitor the seeps and make adjustments to prevent future flows as needed.”