Facebook Twitter



Neighbors say no one living near 600 S. Orem Blvd. has had a good night's sleep all summer.

Steve Crowley, Gary Roylance and Anna Lolotai, speaking to the Orem City Council Tuesday, said the round-the-clock work week for Western Quality Concrete since early spring has seriously affected quality of life in the neighborhood."I have a petition here with 72 names at this point," said Crowley. "We're losing sleep. We can't open our windows. Our utility costs are up. The dust is everywhere. Who's going to pay the costs, the cleaning costs, the health costs?"

"They've obviously taken advantage of everybody," said Roylance. "And I personally would like to have good night's sleep."

Crowley played a tape of the high whine and buzzing noises from night activity at the site.

"That's what it sounds like until 3:30 or 5 a.m. This is what starts at 6 a.m.," he said, playing back a track of heavy truck motors and warning alarms as the trucks reverse.

"These kind of plants certainly belong in an industrial area," he said, "and not in residential neighborhoods."

Lolotai said the neighbors have repeatedly begged "everyone they could think of" to help them.

"We were referred to the governor, to UDOT. It wasn't until today that anyone, except Councilwoman Judy Bell, responded," said Lolo-tai.

But Western Quality President Ellis said Wednesday morning that no one from the neighborhood has complained directly to his company, and he doesn't understand why neighbors are going to the City Council.

Ellis said the company - except for a couple of weeks early on - has held its operation to the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. He said suppliers may have been dropping loads during the night but, for the most part, he is not aware of 24-hour, seven-day work hours.

The crushing operation, involving the recycling of asphalt and concrete from State Street, is complete as of last Thursday, he said. "All the crusher material and assembly is moving out. The large stockpile is being moved and should be out by the first of the week. All of the piles of rubble and dirt should be gone soon, too.

"So things are definitely on the improvement," he said.

Neighbor Lolotai told the council babies and elderly in the area have been exposed to extreme levels of dust pollution and to overly high levels of diesel fumes, including carbon dioxide, arsenic and lead.

Ellis said a full-time, dust-control water truck has operated at the site all summer, and Western Quality has hired - at company expense - extra flaggers to help with traffic diverted onto the boulevard from State Street.

"I know that its inconvenient," he said. "It always is when you have a major project, but the project has got to be completed."

City engineer Ed Gifford, at the council meeting, said company rep-resentatives had approached the city about stockpiling debris and fill at the site while they were working on State Street improvements for the state Department of Transportation.

Gifford said he was not aware that the problems were so severe and the activity so involved.

"The request was to stockpile, not to process gravel,' he said. The site is in a high-density zone that does not permit the kind of processing the neighbors have witnessed, Gifford said.

Mayor Stella Welsh said the company should have had to request permission from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to set up a batch plant and emit materials into the air.

Wednesday, Ellis said Western Quality does have permits to stockpile from Richard Manning, director of public works for Orem, and to operate a batch plant at the Orem Boulevard site from the Division of Air Quality.

He said, at the same time, the company is "under tremendous pressure to meet stringent deadlines or face potential penalties."

City Attorney Paul Johnson reminded the council that businesses cut off from total customer access are anxious for the work on State Street to progress as quickly as possible. He also said "the state of Utah doesn't need our permission to do things or meet our zoning."

With millions of dollars involved and businesses waiting for the work to be finished, Johnson said, his recommendation would be to resolve the situation in a reasonable manner without involving the courts or police.

"It's not as simple as sending in the police to shut them down,' he said.