Headquartered in Hagerstown, Maryland, SGI has four production facilities strategically located nationwide: Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania; Annapolis, Missouri; Pembine, Wisconsin and Ione, California. With more than 550 employees across these locations, SGI is integral to the communities where we work.
Over the years, SGI has helped support the communities in which we operate, contributing to schools, volunteer fire departments, historic preservation, conservation, community centers, youth sports leagues, veterans groups, and more.
The Specialty Granules LLC (SGI) facility has been part of the Charmian and Blue Ridge Summit communities since 1923, providing jobs, economic investment and civic pride for almost a century. Nearly all our 160 employees live within 30 miles of the property, and many are descendants of parents and grandparents who worked at the facility. For this reason, we are proud to call Charmian home.
SGI Charmian has a long history of philanthropic contributions to the communities near our operation, from Waynesboro and Washington Township in Franklin County to Hamiltonban Township, Fairfield, and Carroll Valley Borough in Adams County and even across the state line in Northern Maryland.
In the past two years alone, SGI has contributed more than $63,000 to the surrounding area to support schools, medical institutions and advocacy organizations, environmental groups, youth sports leagues and after school programs. Among other projects, we are proud to have helped fund the construction of the 9/11 Memorial at Red Run Park in Washington Township and to donate to our local first responders at the Blue Ridge Fire & Rescue. In support of preserving our region’s rich history and natural beauty, we annually fund the Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum, and encourage outdoor education and environmental restoration through contributions to the Strawberry Hill Foundation. At the Charmian facility, we are also working to save the community’s hard earned tax dollars by taking responsibility for the road leading into the property including plowing, paving and line painting.
Our pending permit application will allow the Charmian facility to maintain current operations, keeping jobs and economic investment in the community.
The proposed NT Quarry will have no adverse impact on private wells or the flow of Tom’s Creek according to both groundwater modeling and experience from operations at the adjacent Pitts Quarry as the rock formation is dense without fracturing that transmits groundwater. The NT Quarry plan is also designed to avoid impacts to its surrounding wetlands, and no wetlands will be physically disturbed by the operations. The NT Quarry will be developed incrementally with thorough hydrologic monitoring throughout the process to monitor for any unexpected indirect impacts which will be mitigated should they occur.
SGI’s proposed plans for the NT Quarry include robust efforts to protect the water quality of Tom’s Creek, including a regular monitoring program and water quality sampling. The NT Quarry operations will not discharge into Tom’s Creek under normal operating conditions. Only in the event of extreme weather that exceeds the equivalent of a 100-year, 24-hour design storm would SGI potentially discharge stormwater runoff to Tom’s Creek. SGI’s main parameter of concern is non-toxic rock dust also referred to as total suspended solids. Even in the case of an extreme storm, the potential runoff discharged from the Northern Tract ponds would receive treatment via settling ponds and the proposed NPDES limits any TSS discharges such that they not cause any statistical increase in Toms Creek downstream concentrations compared to upstream concentrations. This operating approach has proven to be effective at the current Pitts Quarry operations, which have had zero discharges in the previous seven years to Tom’s Creek.
SGI’s proposed operating plan is structured to effectively manage runoff and ensure adequate water treatment through use of stormwater ponds and quarry pits for storage. During storm events, water will accumulate in the Northern Tract ponds; it will not be pumped to the Lower Mill Pond system until after the peak flow from storm event has ended. This will preserve the treatment capacity of the Lower Mill Ponds and avoid any increase in peak flows within Miney Branch. SGI has also continued to improve the treatment capabilities of its stormwater system, most recently completing major upgrades to the Blue Mountain Pond, which treats water before entering the Lower Mill Ponds.
SGI goes above and beyond to meet the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) stringent standards for blasting conducted at non-coal surface mines, including avoiding blasting on overcast days and weekends and using a reduced blast hole size. In accordance with PADEP requirements, SGI also maintains a network of instruments to monitor ground vibration and air pressure and make monitoring results for each blast event available to PADEP. SGI’s proposed plans for blasting also preclude any fracturing impacts to Tom’s Creek by using methods that limit fracturing to a maximum distance of approximately 20 feet from the blast hole, while maintaining a 300-foot buffer between the creek and the quarry perimeter.
SGI considers the health and safety of its employees and the surrounding community to be of the utmost importance. The presence of actinolite – a rock that can produce asbestiform fibers – is very rare in the metabasalt formations mined at SGI’s site, but we take extraordinary measures to avoid and mitigate any risks of exposure. Trained personnel regularly survey the active mining area using suspect minerals identification and management protocols for any indications of actinolite. In the unlikely event that any actinolite is detected, SGI ensures that suspect minerals are isolated and specially handled to ensure proper disposal. Exploratory core borings in the NT Quarry area found just 3 of 40 samples contained any amount of actinolite, and those samples contained only very small (0.2-0.5%) quantities of actinolite. In response to concerns raised by commenters, SGI conducted outdoor air monitoring around the perimeter of the Charmian facility in order to test for asbestiform fibers in the outdoor air. Ten locations were sampled, each one for a period of 8 days. Two of the 10 samples were found to each contain just one asbestiform fiber each; and the concentrations of such fibers found were not statistically different than average outdoor air concentrations in the United States. PADEP has set an action limit of 0.01 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cm3). By comparison, the outdoor air sampling results near the SGI facility were 0.00012 f/cm3 and do not present a risk to human health.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (which serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer) issued its opinion that “no historic buildings, structures, districts and/or objects will be affected by this project.” SGI has conducted additional historical studies in response to public comments and affirmed that the current enhanced wooded buffer surrounding the site provides protection to the viewshed from all registered historic places, and the path commenters have referenced as being taken by the Ewell wagon train of the Confederate Army. This retreat route is outside the mining area and will not be disturbed by the NT Quarry operations.
Operations at NT Quarry are not expected to increase production capacity at the Charmian facility or cause increased truck traffic. SGI has committed to reduce local traffic from current facility entrances on Old Waynesboro Road by developing a new entrance and access road that connects the SGI facility with Route 16 directly. The project is expected to be completed in late 2020, pending PennDOT’s approval of SGI’s construction permit. SGI also employs a truck tire wash on site, regularly sweeps streets to help remove dust from roads and pays for adjacent road repairs.
No threatened or endangered species were observed during surveys in the area, and SGI will avoid disturbing bat habitats by complying with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recommended tree cutting practices.
The NT Quarry reclamation plan will provide for wildlife habitat with a water impoundment surrounded by forest land, in accordance with PADEP’s regulations and Township-approved conditional use zoning approval. Reclamation costs are secured by full-cost bonds posted with PADEP.
The land exchange between SGI and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was approved by DCNR and Adams County Commissioners following public notice and comment, discussion at meetings attended by members of the community, a public meeting convened by DCNR in February 2011, and publication of a response to comments received by DCNR.
SGI Charmian is an economic cornerstone of the community, providing dozens of jobs, hundreds of thousands in tax dollars, and millions in wages to the area.
Specialty Granules LLC places emphasis on principles such as safety and the environment in its daily operations. Last week, SGI’s Ione plant was recognized for its efforts when it became a Gold Award recipient of the National Sand, Stone, and Gravel Association’s Environmental Excellence Awards. “We’re excited to have received the honor of being recognized … Continued
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Just in time for peak season at Monterey Pass Battlefield Park, six new benches have been placed along the battlefield’s walking trail so visitors can take periodic breaks from discovering the Civil War battle that took place July 4 and 5, 1863, during the retreat from Gettysburg. The benches were purchased by the Friends of … Continued
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