Air, water quality tested near quarry

By Jeffrey D. Wagner
Posted Mar 27, 2009 @ 12:28 AM

FREETOWN — Cape Cod Aggregates will place seven monitoring wells in Berkley and Freetown to measure groundwater quantity and quality, and will also measure air quality near the Bryant Street quarry operation, the company and Freetown officials said this week.

On Monday, Health Agent Paul Bourgeois spoke positively about the measures the company is taking to ensure that blasting and other work conducted on the site will have a minimal impact on the community.

“There are a lot of things they do not have to do at this site but they are being proactive,” Bourgeois said.

On Thursday, Selectwoman Jean C. Fox and Berkley Selectwoman Julie Taylor met with CCA representatives. Fox said they are pleased with initiatives the company has taken to address concerns about the blasting.

Fox said there are still concerns about silica dust, and Berkley residents submitted 100 questions to CCA about the project, which the company answered. Meanwhile, a group of Freetown residents have submitted a petition expressing concern about potential cancer-causing hazards connected to a quarry in town.

Fox said CCA has backed up all its information with documentation so far, and that the air quality tests have been phenomenal.

“I continue to be impressed with how committed they are to safety and how committed they are to making sure people have answers to their questions and concerns,” she said.

Fox said some residents have also raised questions about the impact the blasting will have on the Elm Street Bridge. She said during a pre-blast survey earlier this month, a seismographic monitor was placed on the bridge and only a “slight blip” registered. Fox said during a recent blast, nothing registered at the bridge site.

Fox said concerned residents have also raised questions about the type of explosives used and have asked that CCA look into a different type. However, Fox said both she and CCA think that the type of explosives they are appropriate because they were designed to blow up streets in major cities without damaging nearby buildings.

Fox said CCA even adjusted the type of diesel fuel it had been using for its vehicles to comply with new federal standards.

“There are people that need to know what the details (are). But we continue to monitor (the quarry) with both fire chiefs and health agents and they are kept current by CCA on a regular basis,” she said. “We will not be satisfied until our residents are satisfied.”

CCA spokesperson Greg O’Brien said CCA is trying to satisfy everyone.

“We are working diligently with our expert consultants to monitor water flows and quality, and we are committed to addressing the questions of neighbors, town officials and the community at large to make this the best quarry operation possible, and to respond to misinformation about our project that has been expressed in public. In the process, we will comply fully with every local, state and federal rule or regulation governing the operation of a quarry, and we will meet or exceed every public safety standard set,” O’Brien said.