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Fountain Residents Say Blasts From Quarry Damage Homes

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PITT COUNTY, N.C. — A granite quarry in Pitt County has been there for more than 40 years and makes up a large part of the local tax revenue, but some people say recent blasts are damaging their homes.

Alex Albright said the vibrations from the blasting at the quarry are putting cracks in his walls.

"When it's a bad blast, it feels like you are on a train. The whole house shakes," said Alex Albright, who lives in Fountain.

Murray Adams, Albright's next-door neighbor, said he has experienced the same problem.

"They're still shaking and vibrating our houses to the extent we're suffering severe damage," he said.

Martin Marietta Aggregates is the Raleigh-based company that owns and operates the quarry. Paxton Badham, the company's vice-president, said he hired an outside structural engineer to check out complaints.

"They concluded the cracks, or whatever the problems are in those homes, had absolutely nothing to do with our blasting," he said.

Badham also said the company's blasting levels are half of what is required for safety by the state.

"Martin Marietta is perfectly right when they say that they are blasting below what's allowed by the state. They are wrong in saying that they are not damaging our houses," Albright said.

Some residents are pushing the town board to pass a local ordinance restricting levels even more, but Badham said that is not possible.

"Our readings are so low, so much lower than the state limit that there really is no room for us to decrease them," he said.

Some people who live in Fountain say engineers never looked at their damage. The company plans to present their findings to the town board next week.


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