Rock Quarries near Shavano Park
Martin Marietta (Beckman) Quarry. The Beckmann Quarry began operations in 1930’s and is located just north of 1604 across from the City of Shavano Park and is owned by Martin Marietta (Martin). Martin has an agreement with the City to keep their blasts at a significantly lower level that federal standards. The quarry renewed mining operations on the west side of NW Military Highway in 2016 and many residents have increasing felt the blasting because it has been closer in proximity to Shavano Park. Recently, some have felt a number of blasts that seem disproportionately large.
Staff has researched each reported concern with the independent seismic monitoring firm and in each case the operating levels of the blast were lower than even non-damaging thresholds designated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. In one recent event, the blasts appear to have been a construction firm along 1604 and in another case, the Vulcan Quarry located southwest of Shavano Park conducted a blast, which was also below threshold levels.
In terms of the overall status of the Beckman Quarry, we expect quarry operations will continue for almost 20 more years. Currently, the quarry operations are pointed south towards Shavano Park. We expect that in March 2017, Beckmann will beginning quarrying in a westerly direction. When this occurs the noticeable effects of the blasting will shift more to the east and west – instead of the south (towards Shavano Park). Residents and businesses will still feel the effects.
Overall, Martin has been very cooperative with the city and actively works to mitigate the effects from the quarry operations. Some folks have elected to sign up for blast notifications with the idea that if you are expecting the blast, it is not as startling. To sign up go to http://www.beckmannquarry.com/ and at the top of the home page there is a button to “sign up for blast alerts.”
The Mayor, City Manager and several other residents receive a monthly blasting report from the seismic monitoring firm and we meet with Martin on a quarterly basis in order to keep track and to keep citizens informed.
Vulcan Quarry. Vulcan Quarry is located west-southwest of Shavano Park, but they do not maintain as low of blasts as Beckman, but do comply with federal standards. Vulcan has monitors in properties from the Shavano Heights, Shavano Forest, and Shavano Ridge subdivisions. The San Antonio Fire Department is responsible to regulate the Vulcan Quarry and the blasts are below the allowable thresholds. Recently, the City received a complaint of “another huge blast” felt in the Shavano Creek subdivision from the Vulcan Quarry. Staff contacted the Seismic monitoring company and Vulcan Quarry and received the measurements from that blast. The readings were substantially below the allowable levels. With the cloud cover being so low on that day, the overpressure was no doubt higher than it routinely is and was the effect that was felt.
Discussions with Vulcan Quarry indicate that they are about three years from completing all blasting in that quarry. 50% of the remaining reserves are in vicinity of the Shavano Forest subdivision, which is the closest to Shavano Creek and is where they are currently blasting. After they complete this blasting area, there is one more area in the middle of the quarry, which once blasting occurs there the effects should be reducedSee PowerPoint for listing of Citizen’s Committee and illustrations of quarry operations and readings.