Noise & Vibration
The extraction, processing and hauling of gravel, sand or stone can cause significant noise. Depending on the volume, this can represent a nuisance or health hazard. Hours of operation set under municipal bylaws or should limit noise to day-time hours.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour states the following: Sounds at or below 70 decibels (dBA) are generally considered safe. Any sound at or above 85 dBA is more likely to damage your hearing over time. Researchers have found that people who are exposed over long periods of time to noise levels at 85 dBA or higher are at a much greater risk for hearing loss. Only employees can file a complaint related to worksite noise. Neighbours can use municipal or Ministry of the Environment means but may want to cite these volume levels.
For a discussion of noise meter standards, see https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/noise/gl_noise_3.php . Phone apps may provide you decibel counts at peak and low times to correlate to the MECP’s noise measurements.
Noise pollution is often regulated by the municipality. It is also covered under provincial law by the Ministry of the Environment, classifying it as a contaminant and noting its effects on a natural ecosystem or on humans by making their property i.e., home, cottage, business place unusable or unpleasant.
Noise pollution may have negative impacts on human health through loss of sleep, increased stress, even hearing loss, if high volume, repeated or continuous.
The Ministry of the Environment has a complaint mechanism as below.
For further information see – www.ontario.ca/page/noise-our-environment
Blasting at quarries can produce both air-borne sound waves and ground waves. The latter can cause annoyance and/or damage to homes and other buildings in the vicinity of quarries. It would be unusual to have vibration effects directly from a pit, although it could be a factor along haul routes from heavy vehicles. Adam Lohonyai, a Forensic Engineer at www.origin-and-cause.com explains that peak particle velocities over 5 millimetres per second can cause fissures in walls and other damage. Generally, people notice the vibration even below that level. Obvious new cracks in ceilings and walls are indications that structural damage is occurring.
Tony Sevelka has produced a series of papers on fly-rock from quarries in response to an apparent lack of consideration of this hazard during the permitting process and later operations of quarries. He says the following: While my research identified a number of adverse effects associated with a quarry operation, I was surprised by the number of flyrock incidents occasioned by blasting that resulted in property damage and injury (and sometimes death). A literature search revealed that flyrock is the most dangerous aspect of a blasting quarry operation.
For further information as gathered by Sevelka and made available to the public see www.intval.com .