The A.R.Wilson Graniterock Quarry in Aromas held its tenth annual Rock and Run fundraiser. The event benefits Aromas School but it is also a unique opportunity to see and learn about the 117-year-old, crushed granite rock quarry up close.
The 5K walk/run and 10K run raised $20,000 on Oct 9. Accepting the check for the beneficiary, Aromas School, Principal Heather Howell said, “This event that Graniterock sponsors every year does a lot for our community and I appreciate their support in giving our families a great day to celebrate together and learn about the quarry.” Howell said the money will be used to fund afterschool sports: volleyball, flag football, girls’ soccer, girls’ and boys’ basketball, coed volleyball for eighth graders, cross country, and track and field.
Graniterock CEO Tom Squeri and Quarry Manager Peter Lemon said they were happy to continue with the fundraising efforts for the school and community.
Booths were set up for families to learn about the work of the quarry. At one booth, Environmental Engineer Ashlyn Wenger displayed a variety of granite rocks and answered questions about geology and the environment granite comes from.
After folks of all ages finished the walk/run, a burrito brunch, and trophies handed out, a bus tour was held with a Granitrock spokesperson serving as a guide.
Graniterock Account Manager Jeff Lindsey, as commentator on one bus, described the workings of the quarry and explained that for 117 years, the business has washed and crushed rocks coming from this source.
In 1984, Krupp, the same German company that makes coffeemakers, built a belt that measures 7,000 lineal feet with 14,000 feet of belting. The equipment has the capability of processing 3,000 tons an hour, and can crush four feet of rock down to ten inches.
“The active mining area in the lower hole is one hundred and twenty feet below sea level,” Lindsey told the tour and added, “It is two miles long and one-half mile wide at the widest point.”
The operation uses blasting to extract the material in the quarry. That work is contracted out once a week, Lindsey told his audience. “We do not store explosives on our property,” noted Lindsey.
The busload of visitors looked around in awe at the huge machinery and the long belt. They were learned the San Andreas Fault runs through the edge of the property. But the fault is not viewed as a detriment to the property. It turns out that the fault movement over time provides assistance to their efforts as seismic activity fractures the rock. Pre-fractured granite makes the deposit accessible for mining, however, it will not produce large pieces, such as for counter tops, according to Lindsey. He explained that there are still one hundred years worth of granite left at the quarry.
Lindsey also noted that the site hires ninety team members, representing the five skills/unions of operating engineers, machinists, teamsters, laborers and electricians, and laborers, with an average pay of $50 an hour.
In addition to the source materials at the site, recycling is an integral part of the operation as the company accepts materials from work sites in the area.
“We use all rubble from landfills, crush it and resell it to be used as base rock material,” said Marketing Manager Keith Severson, and added that base rock is used, for example, underneath highways, roadways and buildings.
The tour bus traveled up and down the hills surrounded by heavy machinery, granite rock and hills, and then around the quarry lake. The quarry lake is all recycled water, used to make sand and to wash aggregate for shipment.
“Extensive testing shows our water is cleaner than well water and drinking water, and this has been proven,” Linsey said. The main production at Graniterock takes place at night to save energy. It operates within a twenty-hour day, five to six days a week, with three shifts each day.
After the rock has been washed, crushed, it is separated into a range of sizes. It is loaded out in trucks through an automated system that requires no human interaction on 24/7 schedules. By rail, Graniterock operates two switching engines at night with three hundred rail cars that transport rock products to San Jose, Redwood City and South San Francisco.
The Graniterock company also gave a special thank you to companies who stepped up to sponsor Rock and Run, and they are as follows:
Finish Line Productions, Damatt Engineering, Enterprise, Rivas Electric, UCI, Buckles-Smith, Inland Tires, Marshall’s Grocery, Midstate Scales Co., Mission Village Voice, Pajaro Valley Electric, Quinn Cat, San Benito Chamber of Commerce, SC Fuels, Wells Fargo Bank, Wells, Fargo Insurance Services, Alameda Electric, Alpha Explosives, Aromas Grill, Fairbanks Scales, Mag Trucking, Peterson Cat, 101 Livestock supply, Aromas Auto Repair, Aromas Feed, California Giant, and Old Firehouse Market.