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Quarry Best Management Practices

The University of Texas at Austin developed 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 are located in the recharge and contributing zones of the Edwards Aquifer in Central Texas. These sites pose a potential risk to groundwater and aquifer water quality because they remove vast amounts of soil, which normally serves as a filter during water infiltration, and expose potentially permeable rock. This means that surface water and its associated pollutants have a more direct pathway to aquifers and groundwater. For example, perchlorate and diesel contamination of groundwater may be linked to nearby quarries.

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Project Description

In the first phase of this project, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) selected quarries located in the recharge and/or contributing zones of the Edwards Aquifer and:

  • Identified activities and pollutants associated with quarry operations.
  • Determined pathways and factors affecting movement of contaminants into groundwater.
  • Identified potential impacts on the quality of groundwater.

In the second phase, UT developed best management practices (BMPs) that have a high potential to protect groundwater quality near quarries.

In the final phase, UT collaborated with the TCEQ Field Operations Division, Edwards Aquifer protection program, to develop a Best Management Practices for Quarry Operations (RG-500)

  • 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

The project was completed in August 2011.

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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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