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Residents voice health, environmental concerns over proposed gravel pit near Belgrade

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 13:26:28-05

MANHATTAN — Some residents near Manhattan might have a new neighbor moving in soon and they’re not too happy about it. That’s because the neighbor is a 79.9-acre gravel pit.

“Dismissed and isolated,” said Daniel Corbin.

“Disappointed and frustrated—it’s unsettling,” said Kristen Corbin.

That’s how the Corbins have been feeling ever since they received a notice in the mail that a gravel pit is proposed for Highline and Veltkamp Road west of Belgrade.

This location is basically right smack dab in the Corbin’s backyard—only 100 yards away from their backdoor.
 
“We bought our land to live out in the open,” said Kristen. “We both grew up here. We’re from this area.”

And they say they truly value their property.

“It’s got a lot of sentimental value and there’s a lot in this property that is meaningful,” said Kristen.

For one, this is the place they’re raising two children. They're worried about a gravel pit so close by, stirring up dust.

“The scary thing is that dust can cause irreversible side effects in children and developing bodies,” said Kristen. “My daughter has respiratory issues.”

And they’re not alone.

Travis and Katrina Zadikem live a few houses down from the Corbins.

“There’s a lot of agriculture in this area. We like the potato growers, the farmers, and we never expected a gravel pit to pop up,” said Travis. “We have dogs and cats and chickens.”

And they have horses.

“Those dust particles going into our horses’ lungs could kill them,” said Katrina.

Another concern is how their drinking water will be affected.

“Because we’re on a well, and we know how deep the gravel pit is going to be,” said Travis.

“There’s just so many questions that they haven’t taken into consideration,” said Katrina.

On Thursday night, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality hosted its first public meeting where folks gathered to hopefully get some questions answered.

It was a full house as people lined up to voice their concerns about potential impacts on water quality, water rights, air quality, and more.

Also present to answer questions was gravel pit operator, Concrete Materials of Montana under the name “Lucht”.

The DEQ said if the application meets the requirements of the open cut mining act, the site is allowed to be mined, but there is still a lot of work to be done before they reach a decision.

“My hope is that the gravel pit looks at relocating,” said Travis.

The Corbins share the same hope.

“I hope there’s some understanding of what we’re going through out here,” said Kristen.