Hometown Spirit: Sand Mining In Taylor County

October 8, 2007

We're kicking off this week's Hometown Spirit with an inside look at a booming Taylor County industry, sand mining. It's all part of the countdown to Friday's football game between Taylor County and Schley County high schools.

Somewhere between Talbot and Taylor Counties, sits a massive canyon-like hole.

If you've never seen a sand mining pit, it's a pretty impressive sight. What's even more fascinating is what used to be here.

"What they're telling us geologically was ancient beaches, and where the fall line is between the coastal plain and the piedmont areas, the oceans left various deposits of sand in this area," said Greg Brown, from Brown Brothers Sand Company.

Greg Brown's family has been sand mining in these parts since 1903. The sand from his family's land has been used in construction projects across the region.

"Our main market is Fayetteville, and the west side of Atlanta, Carrolton, Newnan, LaGrange, that's where the majority of our sand goes," said Brown.

So, how do they get hundreds of thousands of tons of sand out of the earth? It all starts with a lot of water.

"We actually mine hydraulically and when I say hydraulically we use a water cannon to separate or start a slurry," Brown said.

From there, Brown and his employees mix the water and sand together, pump it, screen it and separate the sand into different grades.

Sounds like a lot of work, but playing in the sand has it's advantages.

"It's like being at the beach year round. You're in the sand, sun, the only thing you're missing is the ocean water everyday," said Brown.

Even without the ocean, Brown believes sand mining will continue to be a family tradition for generations to come.

"My great grandfather and four brothers started the company, and I'm fourth generation and we have fifth generation on the ground. So hopefully we'll be here another 100 years," he said.