Cement Plant Quarry Fills Up

Whenever I’m in Cape, I hop on my bike and take a run down to South Sprigg to look over the edge of the cement plant quarry. I’ve always been fascinated by the place.

I saw a brief story in The Missourian in the past couple of weeks that the high water and flooding has caused the quarry to fill up. I kept waiting for a longer piece and now I can’t find the original one.

In the meantime, my mother’s neighbor across the street, Bill Bolton, sent me this photo showing that the water is way above the conveyor belt that carries the blasted material over Sprigg St. to the cement plant.

Last week there was a story in the paper saying that huge sinkholes have opened up and swallowed so many pieces of Sprigg Street that it’s closed “indefinitely.”

2002 Blowout

To put Bill’s photo in perspective, there was a huge blowout in July 2002 where a 25-foot-tall plume of water came blasting in. You can click on any photo to make it larger.

Conveyor area still dry

Even with that massive inflow of water, the conveyor area was still high and dry.

By fall 2002, flow was stopped

By my October 2002 visit, the flow had stopped and pumps had taken the water level down substantially.

Nearly drained by October 2003

The water was almost completely gone by Oct. 15, 2003.

Fall 2010 aerial photo

This is what the quarry looked like from the air on Nov. 6, 2010. The paved road on the right is S. Sprigg Street.

Seep water from Cape LaCroix Creek

Nov. 10, 2010, I took a tour of the cement plant and was given my first trip to the bottom of the quarry since the mid-70s. I’ll run photos of that later, along with pictures of the massive caverns that were blasted out by the early miners.

Buzzi Unicem Plant Manager Steve Leus said the water in the photo was coming in underground from Cape LaCroix Creek. Under normal circumstances, pumps can handle the flow.

The caves on the right are from some of the early mining. They extend under Sprigg Street. Steve said they’re not sure how far back they go.

Water rising April 2011

The river was just reaching flood stage at Cape when I took this photo on April 17, 2011. The lower portions of the quarry are beginning to hold water, but it’s a long way from where it was when Bill took his photo a few weeks later.

1966 aerial shows expansion

This aerial I shot of the cement plant and quarry shows just how much rock has been taken out in the last 45 years.


Fruitland Strack Quarry Gets OK

The Missourian had a story Wednesday saying that the Missouri Division of Natural Resources Clean Water Commission has granted Strack Excavating an operating permit at the site of its quarry development off U.S. 61 near Fruitland. Here’s a link to the DNR site with all of the information, including a legend identifying the property owners on the exhibit above. No. 7 is the northern boundary of Saxon Lutheran High School.

You can click on any photo to make it larger.

Aerial of general quarry area

When Ernie Chiles and I went flying on April 17, 2011, I asked him to make a pass over the Saxon Lutheran High School in Fruitland. I didn’t know at the time exactly where the proposed quarry was going to be, but I figured we’d be close.

This view above is generally to the north. The high school is the inverted Y-shaped building with the blue roof at the left center. You can orient yourself by looking for the road that curves to the right near the top of the photo and the creek / treeline that cuts across diagonally at the center.

View to the southwest

The school is on the left; the light-colored road running left to right at the top is I-55, the darker road running under I-55 is U.S. 61. The road that makes a right-angle bend is County Road 601.

What’s east of the school?

When we made a closer pass, my eye was drawn to something diagonally across from the school’s athletic fields. Whatever it was was spread over a significant expanse of land.

Looks like some kind of recycling operation

It looks like what we would have called a junk yard in the old days. It appears that it’s somewhere that takes big pieces and makes them into piles of little pieces. Note the corner of the high school’s playing field in the upper left.

Still can’t identify it

We came in a little tighter, but I still couldn’t tell exactly what was going on there. I wasn’t sufficiently curious enough to drive up there to find out. I’m sure someone will fill me in.

Without getting in the middle of what is purely a local issue, it does seem a little disingenuous to get worked up about the quarry when there appears to be another industrial operation with its attendant traffic within stone’s throw of a playing field.

Strack Hwy 74 Quarry

Here’s a link to photos I took of the Strack Quarry on Hwy 74 last fall.