Health & Safety

We are concerned that the Melville Pit will adversely affect the health and safety of the residents of Melville, Alton and Orangeville.  We believe that as citizens of Ontario we are entitled, by law, to breathe clean air, not be exposed to loud noise and excessive vibration, to have access to clean and plentiful water, and to have the enjoyment and normal use of their property without harm and/or material discomfort.

The pages covering Water and Truck Traffic include the health and safety issues related to them. Here we outline our concern that the Melville Pit will discharge contaminates into the air that may cause or aggravate asthma, bronchitis, cardiac disease and other diseases of the respiratory and circulatory systems. We know that the Melville Pit will discharge airborne dust and particulate matter (e.g. silica, mica), and other disease-producing pathogens and toxic gas emissions from the diesel equipment and from the trucks. The critical question is how much; and what negative impact might this have?

As part of their application process Olympia Sand and Gravel Ltd.’s Air Quality consultants (SENES Consultants Limited) carried out a dust impact assessment to help predict the highest levels of airborne particulates (dust) that will result from the industrial activity that is being proposed for the site. To do this they model the Total Suspended Particulate (TSP), particles with aerodynamic diameters of less than 44 microns (millionth of a meter), to characterize the air quality near to the dust source. They also model the finer Particulate Matter; PM10; all particles with aerodynamic diameters less than 10 microns, and PM 2.5; all particles with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5 microns. It is important to consider this finer Particulate Matter because many studies over the past few years have indicated that it is this finer Particulate Matter in the air quality (PM10 and PM2.5) which is associated with various adverse health effects in people who already have compromised respiratory systems such as asthma, chronic pneumonia and cardiovascular problems. Indeed PM 2.5 is known as “respirable” particulate since the particles are generally small enough to be drawn in and deposited into the deepest portions of the lungs.

The report found that both the annual TSP criteria and the 24 hour PM10 guidelines would both exceedes levels set by the Ministry of the Environment. While this was only at nonresidential locations in areas along the northwest and southeast boundaries, and near the site entrance, it is important to understand that the finer Particulate Matter can stay airborne for days and can be transported significant distances from the source when there is wind.

The SENES report concludes by saying that for its study to remain valid the following operational practices need to be followed:

  • application of water or another provincially approved dust suppressant to unpaved internal haul roads and processing areas as often as required to mitigate dust;
  • processing equipment will be equipped with dust suppressing or collection devices, where the equipment creates dust;
  • vehicle speeds on unpaved haul roads should remain at 20 km per hour or less;
  • the front entrance road shall be paved and kept clean and free of dust through vacuum sweeping and/or water flushing as appropriate to reduce dust emissions;
  • the road area immediately in front of the main entrance will be cleaned with water as necessary to minimize track-out from the site;
  • stripping activities shall not be conducted during adverse meteorological conditions such as excessively hot, dry or windy conditions

Does this sound like the actual practice we see from the other pits in Caledon?


Gravel Pit Dust