copar quarries

Photo Courtesy of Steve Dubois

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency reported Copar Quarries in Westerly has paid $80,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air standards. According to EPA officials, the quarry is now in compliance. Not so, say neighbors who live near the quarry. Their lawyer is calling for a new investigation into dust and other concerns associated with the operation.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Yesterday we brought you the story of homeowners in the communities of Westerly and Charlestown who say their lives have been disrupted by the rock blasting at a neighboring quarry. Charlestown is working on ordinances that would regulate this industry. Town officials are trying to balance the interest of homeowners and sand and gravel business owners. But one local operator said those proposed ordinances would create hardships for the industry – an industry he said is already struggling to survive. This is the second installment of a two-part series.

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On the surface, this story is about sand and gravel. And it’s not, actually. It's a story about how stone becomes sand and gravel. And about the people who built homes around what used to be a dormant quarry in Westerly. It’s the first installment of a two-part series.

Charlestown resident Denise Rhodes lives about 1,000 feet away from this quarry, just across the border in Westerly. She invited local town council members and Rhode Island Public Radio to her house on a day when the town issued a “Code Red alert.” 

Westerly’s Zoning Board is circling back to a cease and desist order against Copar and Westerly Granite. Tuesday's hearing picks up where the zoning board left off earlier this year.

Residents near Copar’s quary say it’s noisy and spews rock and dust into the air, causing health risks. Copar says the noise is no louder than a busy road.

Meanwhile, Copar and the Town of Westerly are locked in a lawsuit that the former town manager was hoping would be resolved in mediation.

The Town of Westerly and Copar Quarries head into mediation Wednesday to see if they can settle a dispute that will please both the quarry and residents.

Did Copar Quarries Expand Beyond its Means?

Mar 27, 2013

In Westerly, the Zoning Board is holding a special meeting this evening about a controversial quarry. The board is hearing an appeal about an expansion at the quarry.

A Superior Court Judge is expected rule on a lawsuit that could temporarily shut down a quarry in Westerly. Residents are complaining that Copar Quarry is a threat to their health. Copar disagrees.