Letters to the Editor

Gravel pit will damage aquifer

I am concerned about plans by Krieg Construction to install a gravel pit off Sawmill Road on North Whidbey.

The proposed gravel pit endangers our community’s water. At less than 1,000 feet from many homes in Dugualla Bay Heights, this proposed gravel pit is directly upstream, and likely right on top of our high-quality, shallow aquifer.

This aquifer currently supplies just under 200 homes, with the capacity to serve the 256 platted lots in Dugualla Bay Heights. Removal of earth will severely impact aquifer protection and there is no guarantee that excavation would not penetrate or contaminate our aquifer. If such damage occurs, there is no way to repair it, and 200 families would be without water and unable to live in their homes. And Dugualla Bay Heights is one of many neighborhoods that would be affected.

Krieg’s proposed gravel pit endangers our community’s safety. The roads in this neighborhood cannot handle high-weight truck traffic that a gravel pit would bring. Anyone who has ever driven down East Frostad Road knows that it is without shoulders, is continually being reinforced and is deathly slippery during the cold months due to frost (hence the name).

It is unlikely that this road could physically support commercial traffic, and more than likely, there would be an increase in vehicular accidents of all kinds, given the sharp turn at Taylor and Frostad. The other exit from the proposed site, Taylor Road to Sleeper Road, is also problematic due to the truck traffic that already exists there from other gravel pits in the area. In addition, both exits from the site are lined with school bus stops and have a substantial number of children on them, morning and afternoon as well as many bikers, riders and walkers in the summer months.

I encourage readers of this paper to submit their comments on the proposed gravel pit to the Island County Community Development Office, P.O. Box 5000, Coupeville, WA 98239. You may also fax your letters to 679-7306. At this time, this is our only opportunity to comment. A copy to the Board of Island County Commissioners, as well as state legislators Haugen, Sehlin and Barlean would also be appropriate. If you are interested in organizing with other affected residents, please contact me at 679-3363 or lbtaylor@whidbey.net.

Please don’t let the holidays keep you from this important task. It is my understanding that Island County is looking at opening a gravel pit in this same area, one that would process rock in addition to extracting it. If one gravel pit gets approved, others will be more likely follow, and North Whidbey will quickly become an industrial zone. Speak up so that we can develop our precious Island wisely, safely and responsibly.

Lori B. Taylor lives in Oak Harbor.

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