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Spicewood quarry neighbors complain of noise, dust, and quakes

Spicewood Crushed Stone

The entrance to Spicewood Crusted Stone, a rock-crushing quarry on Texas 71 in Spicewood. The next road over, just a few yards from the quarry entrance, is Vista View Trail, the main road leading into the Spicewood Trails subdivision. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Spicewood Trails resident Greg Pawlisa grew up in Los Angeles and lived in New York. He’s used to bad air quality and loud noise. But the sounds, dust, and mini-quakes coming from the nearby Spicewood Crushed Stone are too much for him and many of his neighbors, who have filed 10 complaints with the company, all unanswered.

The rock-crushing quarry was granted an air-quality permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Oct. 7 and began operations soon after.

“(The quarry) literally sounds like it’s in my backyard,” Pawlisa told “It’s that loud.”

VIDEO: Spicewood Trails resident Greg Pawlisa recorded the sounds of dropping rocks and heavy machinery reverberating across his backyard at 6:30 a.m. Video contributed by Greg Pawlisa

According to the TCEQ, the stage agency has received three complaints about dust emissions coming from the plant since September. It conducted an investigation but has not issued a final report. 

Controversy over Spicewood Crushed Stone began when it applied for a permit to operate in 2018. It is one of two quarries in that area. The nearby Double Horn subdivision incorporated in an attempt to regulate the industries. 

After applying for an air-quality permit in July 2022, the quarry began operations, angering many Spicewood Trails residents over the noise and air pollution they say the plant is causing.

“Prior to August, I barely even noticed it,” Pawlisa said. “Everything was fine.”

Mini-earthquakes from explosive blasts inside the plant and dust clouds hanging over swimming pools have become common for neighbors.

“There’s definitely air-quality issues,” Pawlisa said. “There’s lots of kids in the neighborhood, too. It’s very concerning that they’re breathing in all of this stuff. I grew up in Los Angeles. I know what bad air quality can do after 20 years of exposure.”

While the mini-earthquakes and dust clouds are inconvenient, Pawlisa said the noise is his main issue with the plant. Even though the quarry doesn’t officially open until 6:30 a.m., he said loud sounds from it often wake him from his sleep as early as 5:30 a.m.

“You can hear their machines come on,” he said. “All I hear is rocks falling. It echoes through our entire community.”

Pawlisa lived in New York for 11 years before moving to the Texas Hill Country. He and his wife relocated to Spicewood Trails in March, hoping for peace and quiet.

“I’m used to noise, just not like this” he said. “It’s very annoying to hear this all day. It’s kind of embarrassing, too, when you’re on your patio and want to have friends over and try to relax but can’t because of the noise.”

Pawlisa met with a quarry representative, who attempted to pin the constant noise on Vulcan Materials Co., a rock quarry down the road. The representative also told Pawlisa that regular sound readings are done at the site to ensure compliance with state regulation.

After an unsuccessful conversation with the manager, Pawlisa enlisted the help of his neighbors, who have filed more than 10 complaints to the company.

“We just want them to abide by the regulations they are supposed to,” he said. “We want to hold them accountable.”

Spicewood Crushed Stone Vice President Matthew Dalrymple spoke to about the measures the quarry has taken to ensure compliance with ordinances issued by the city of Double Horn and regulations handed down by the TCEQ.

“Spicewood Crushed Stone has installed several vibration, noise, and dust monitors along our property boundaries,” Dalrymple said. “These monitors provide continuous monitoring and real-time data that is used to ensure that our operation remains substantially below the established limits on vibration, dust, and noise.”

Dalrymple said neighbors are always welcome to reach out regarding operations and the plant maintains an open policy to discuss their concerns. 

The neighborhood is yet to hear back from the quarry regarding their complaints.

4 thoughts on “Spicewood quarry neighbors complain of noise, dust, and quakes

  1. It’s time to compare TCEQ guidelines with other states for air, and ultimately, water quality. I hate seeing our Hill Country being dug out. The closer one lives to a quarry, the more negative the effect on health. But all of us will have varying amounts of poor air quality. I’ll attack this issue as your state representative.

  2. Dust blowing over 281 North of Marble Falls is very noticeable and seeming to get worse.

  3. Take note Kingsland Residents. We may face the same dust and noise from the sand plant that Collier wants to put in on Lake LBJ (Llano Arm).

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