Martis Valley Quarry taking steps to mitigate noise and odor issues

Hannah Jones

With the installation of a new filtration system to limit odor at the Martis Valley Quarry, the Truckee Planning Commission has decided to continue reviewing the site annually to ensure it stays in compliance with town codes.

When Nevada County approved a use permit for the site in 1983, a five-year review cycle was imposed. Truckee inherited that use permit when it incorporated in 1993. Since 2017 the town has been reviewing the site annually.

“Since the inception of this plant we have not been out of compliance, we have not had violations on our plant,” said Michael Smith of Teichert, the company behind the operation. “We feel like we’ve always tried to be the best neighbor that we could.”

Over the last three years Teichert has taken steps to mitigate odor, noise and dust issues at the quarry, investing over $1 million in the plant.

In 2018 the town received 39 complaints about the quarry, 34 of which were about the odor. This year it received 15 complaints, with 11 concerning odor, three about noise and one about dust. Complaints mostly came from residents in Glenshire and Juniper Hills, according to Truckee Planning Manager Jenna Gatto.

“We think that there has been some pretty substantial improvements,” said Gatto.

To control odor the company began using Ecosorb, a plant based material put into asphalt oil to neutralize the odor, and installed a carbon filtration system on the asphalt tanks. The new system, referred to as a Blue Smoke system, will provide additional filtration to reduce odor. They hope to have the system fully operational early next year.

To limit the amount of dust coming from the quarry Smith said they began using surfactant to keep the dust down on roads, as well as a water truck on non-operational days when winds are high.

To reduce the noise they made space for vehicles to back up and turn away from the nearest neighborhoods. Additionally, a stockpile of excess material was placed on the backside of the lot close to residences, which has helped bring noise down, Smith said.

Gatto said the quarry is in compliance with town noise standards despite receiving three noise complaints this year.

The quarry is also monitored by the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District and is in compliance with its standards.

“All the reports determine that the quarry remains in compliance with all the conditions,” said Gatto.

The company also set up a communication system to notify neighbors of night operations and allow them to file complaints.

“It sounds like they’re doing everything they can to keep up good neighbor relations,” said Planning Commissioner Dave Gove.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at or 530-550-2652.

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