Save Sandy Creek group rallies against ‘sand plant;’ city council calls special meeting

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

A newly formed group Save Sandy Creek has rallied Llano County residents against a proposed mining operation on the waterway (pictured here on the group’s social media page), citing concerns about a dwindling water table and gravel truck traffic. Courtesy photo

A newly formed group Save Sandy Creek has rallied Llano County residents against a proposed mining operation on the waterway (pictured here on the group’s social media page), citing concerns about a dwindling water table and gravel truck traffic. Courtesy photo

SUNRISE BEACH VILLAGE — Sandy Creek, which flows about a mile through the property where Llano County resident Fermin Ortiz lives, has served as a valuable resource, not only for his own family but a number of other residents around the waterway.

“It’s as God made it. It’s been serving its purpose way before we got here,” Ortiz said. “The creek belongs to nature, and we get to borrow it as needed and not destroy it.”

As a result of plans to mine the waterway’s riverbed for sand, Ortiz joined a looming battle against a requested rock crushing permit by Collier Materials Inc.

The company is seeking an air quality permit by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to launch an operation to dredge a portion of the creek on private property just off Texas 71 adjacent to the city of Sunrise Beach Village.

A public commenting period with the state agency ends July 17.

Collier Materials Vice President Kevin Collier has stated that the operation involves “crushing wet sand,” which “will all but eliminate the dust.”

However, aside from potential air quality issues, several residents, including Ortiz, and two Llano County commissioners have raised concerns about potential gravel truck traffic and water resource issues.

A municipality also vowed to weigh in.

Sunrise Beach Village City Council called a special meeting to discuss a possible resolution opposing the proposed “sand plant.” The meeting is 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, at City Hall, 124 Sunrise Drive.

Ortiz and three other residents launched a group called Save Sandy Creek to rally residents county-wide against the planned operation.

“It’s a sole source of water for lots of people,” he said. “It hasn’t ever tried to be commercialized.”

In one week, Ortiz attended two public meetings to assess the community’s response, gathered hundreds of contacts, and assisted in coordinating an online presence for the group.

He believes the two biggest threats to the area are a “dwindling” water resource as well as an increase in mining industry traffic.

“To pull thousands of gallons of water to clean sand for commercial-grade concrete, it’s going to use an immense amount of water,” he said. “There’s a lot of ranches that will all be adversely affected. We don’t have any way of replenishing that water resource.”

Collier Materials said in a statement that the operation would be a “positive thing for people on LBJ downstream from us.”

“By taking the sand out upstream, it will reduce the sand being deposited into the lake,” the statement read. “We’re not anticipating an increase of truck traffic on (Texas) 71 because we’re already supplying the concrete plants on 71 from our Llano location, (so) it will actually reduce the traffic west of Sandy Creek on 71 because those trucks won’t be traveling all the way to Llano for their sand.”

The owner of the property in which the dredging would take place was unavailable for comment.

connie@thepicayune.com

6 Responses to “Save Sandy Creek group rallies against ‘sand plant;’ city council calls special meeting”

  1. Dana Baxley says:

    To Stan Collier: can you harvest the sand and truck it to your FM 1980 site to process?

    • Josh Parker says:

      Hope I am confused, but how would trucking the product 20+ miles help the environment and decrease truck traffic people are using as their arguments against the purposed plant?

  2. Cindy Faubion says:

    The environmental hazard, air pollution, noise pollution, destroying wildlife and fish habitats, and pollution and exorbitant use of our water supply is outrageous. There is a ton of opposition on the proposed sand and rock crushing plant. Collier Materials and Steve Nash (property owner who contracted Collier) have no regard for any of these hazards and want to make more money. Help stop this Sand plant from destroying our beautiful community!

    • Steve says:

      I believe tceq already approved the permit for the s&g operation. They have not yet appoved the rock crushing permit. As far as saying there is a ton of opposition to this. How many in actual numbers?

      • Cyunvwyatt says:

        The entirety of SRB and surrounding areas only you Steve and Collier who want to pillage 250 million out of our backyard are for it!

  3. Wyatt Larew says:

    Its amazing to me that people would be ignorant enough to believe a Corporation is going to come in and strip mine a town for the peoples benefit! How does anyone except Steve Nash and Collier Materials Benefit from allowing them to loot 250 million dollars worth of natural resources, that they are going to turn around and sell back to county governments at a price of 1.4 BILLION! Its a Navigatable waterway says the Army Corp of Engineers anyways. If Llano county is sitting on Billions of dollars worth of silica and aggregate, why isnt the county taking this sand and paying off all these bonds? Why are they always claiming to be broke and cant afford to fix a single road or park while letting corps come in and strip out Billions? Next time they ask you ro vote on a bond package tell thwm to go sccop sand for a month!

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