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Quarry Best Management Practices

Development of guidance for best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution from quarries and surface mining operations


Review of land use and cover maps indicates as many as 124 quarries, strip mines, and gravel pits located in the recharge and contributing zones of the Edwards Aquifer in Central Texas. Contamination cases that may be linked to quarries include diesel spills and perchlorate detections in nearby groundwater.

Vulnerable aquifers such as the Edwards must be protected from activities associated with both active and abandoned quarries of rock, aggregate, and asphalt. Quarry activities can directly expose permeable rock units, thereby providing a direct pathway for contaminants to reach the underlying aquifer.

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Project Description

In the first phase of this project, selected quarries located in the recharge or contributing zones of the Edwards Aquifer were assessed to identify activities and pollutants associated with quarry operations, determine pathways and factors affecting movement of contaminants into groundwater, and identify potential impacts on the quality of groundwater.

In the second phase, best management practices (BMPs) were developed to implement activities that have a high potential to impact groundwater quality.

In the final phase, the BMPs were provided to the TCEQ Field Operations Division, Edwards Aquifer protection program, for use in technical guidance. The BMPs will also be provided to groundwater conservation districts for use statewide.

The final Quarry BMP Guidance includes practices such as:

  • installation of perimeter berms to divert stormwater flow
  • construction of paved roads and parking lots to prevent tracking sediment onto adjacent roads and reduce the generation of dust
  • use of tire wash systems to clean vehicles that travel on unpaved roads
  • preservation of naturally vegetated stream buffers to filter overland flow

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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