Previously we gave you a general introduction to Mountsorrel Quarry. During 2020, we will be offering more detailed insights into some of our regular activities. In this article, the focus is on environmental monitoring as Joanna Jones, our facilities & compliance manager, explains.
There has been a formal environmental monitoring programme at Mountsorrel Quarry for several decades. However, the advent of new technologies now provides exciting but realistic opportunities for comprehensive monitoring programmes and periodic reviews – creating an environment of continuous improvement. This work is headed by Joanna’s dedicated on-site team – supported by independent, professional consultants.
Anyone who does DIY recognises that everyday jobs – such as rubbing down paintwork, mixing sand & cement or cleaning walls & ceilings – creates dust. Other everyday activities – including car braking, tyre wear, road dust & agricultural ploughing – also generate dust.
Quarry dust management has traditionally been reactive. At Mountsorrel, with long term support from DustScanAQ, an innovative approach is used, based on predicting periods of high dust levels & taking action before they occur.
Daniel Quinn, a Senior DustScanAQ Consultant, explains.
“We place three different types of dust monitors on both the site boundary and within the nearest residential areas. They detect any dust beyond the site boundary and the fine particulate matter known as PM10 (particles less than 10 micrometres), which are compared to National Air Quality Standards.
“We compare dust levels against trigger levels agreed with Leicestershire County Council, in consultation with Charnwood Borough Council’s Environmental Health Officer and take appropriate action. We analyse samples under a microscope to identify how much quarry dust may be deposited locally.”
Joanna adds; “Working with DustScanAQ and using microscopy analysis, we now have a distinctive “fingerprint” of Mountsorrel Quarry dust, to support our analysis of whether any dust is from the quarry or not. If we receive a formal complaint, we review the local wind direction/speed, temperature & rainfall. We consult our dust and PM10 records and review the dust fingerprint. We keep the complainant informed & send them a written response. Where appropriate, we make changes to our operations.”
Measurement, assessment & control of quarry noise has been carried out by Vibrock since the early 1990s. Senior Noise Consultant Andrew Pickford makes detailed site investigations & recommends actions to minimise quarry noise.
The quarry has a noise control programme in place, which is agreed and reviewed with Leicestershire County Council. Four times a year we do 24-hour continuous monitoring at selected residential properties to check the noise that can be heard at these properties is within the acceptable levels.
We also conduct routine 24-hour environmental noise measurement on site and at the site boundary, including close to the asphalt plant and loadout areas, which highlight any potential noise concerns during sensitive operating hours.
In order to help control the noise coming from the site we use several techniques including noise barriers, acoustic panels and silencers.
Our noise monitoring reports are then discussed with Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council and the quarry liaison group.
Surface water discharged to the River Soar & Swithland Reservoir is regularly monitored by site-based Environmental Technician Andy Perry, who lives in Barrow upon Soar & joined the company 14 years ago as an apprentice. Andy makes sure the discharges meet Environment Agency standards. Any suspended solids are filtered out before discharge to the reservoir & the pH is managed to a neutral level – so the water is neither acidic nor alkaline. The water channels are lined with impermeable granite & any suspended solids are filtered through it. As the base of the site is 127 metres below sea level, there is no need for groundwater monitoring.
Did you know?
- Our 24 hour weather station continuously monitors & records wind direction & speed, rain & snowfall, temperature, humidity & air pressure
- Over 450 dust samples are taken every year on and around Mountsorrel Quarry
- Noise levels on and around the site are recorded every second
- Monthly environmental monitoring data is shared with Leicestershire County Council & Charnwood Borough Councill and is discussed at quarterly Community Liaison Group meetings.
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