March 29th was a very newsworthy day for me. It was the day we had many prominent local and provincial politicians holding a news conference at the PCC announcing funding for the Morriston Bypass. It was also the day I finally had enough of the dangerous mess on Concession 2 and Concession 7 created by the CBM Lanci Gravel Pit operation. The Lanci Pit is located in what I like to call ‘Pit Row’ at the east end of Concession 2.
On my way to the press conference I took my usual route to Timmies to pick up a coffee and ended up, as usual, behind a large, fully loaded gravel truck that just exited the Lanci Pit on the South side of Concession 2. This particular truck was spewing egregious amounts of dust and dirt which luckily forced me to stay well back from it. On a normal day the trucks and pits on Pit Row spill an incredible amount of gravel and dirt on the road but on this day, a literal haboob of dirt was coming off this truck. I could not see past the truck in the oncoming lane due the dust cloud.
As I was driving well back I had the opportunity, luck and good fortune to miss every single ROCK the truck dropped onto the road. Not gravel, ROCK. This truck (and to be fair, I’m assuming other trucks too) were dropping 4-6 inch rocks along the roadway. They were scattered down concession 2 and up concession 7 over the 401 (see images below). As I was driving and on a schedule I decided against grabbing my camera and taking pictures.
After the press conference was over I came back and photographed the scene. I took pictures of not only the rocks on the road but also the complete coverage of Concession 2 with dirt and gravel in front of the Lanci Pit. If it’s not overly clear in the images, the Eastbound lanes were completely covered in mud and gravel. I’m fairly certain that the Pit’s license forbids the spilling of ANY material outside of the pit and I was really shocked to see both the size and quantity of the rocks along the road. I could not understand how rocks this large were leaving the pits and dropping on the road so I decided to call CBM and talk to them about the consistently poor road conditions along Pit Row and what could be done about it.
Gravel and dirt covering Concession 2 Eastbound lanes, Puslinch, Ontario. Click for larger size image.
Another view of gravel and dirt covering Concession 2 Eastbound lanes, Puslinch, Ontario. Click for larger size image.
A Conversation with CBM (vcimentos.com)
I was really impressed with the conversation I had with a representative from CBM. I emailed a quick note with some pictures to the customer service address from their website ([email protected]) and got a quick response asking to set up a time for a call to discuss the issues from “David Hanratty, North American Aggregates, Director of Land & Resources”. He took the time to discuss the issues and how they will deal with them, thanked me for letting him know and subsequently followed up with an email detailing how they will follow up.
Here is a brief synopsis of the issues I raised and how My. Hanratty responded to each.
- Why was so much mud and gravel being tracked out of the Lanci Pit & onto Concession 2?
Mr. Hanratty indicated that this was a result of ‘extraordinary conditions’. Every spring, for a couple of months, the company moves a massive amount of gravel from the Lanci Pit to stockpile it for operation at another location. This explains the unusual number of trucks entering and exiting the site, but does not explain why the dirt and gravel are being allowed to spill outside the pit operation and onto the road.
For remediation, Mr. Hanratty indicated that every night work crews from the company will be on the road sweeping it clean after the days operations have ended. He indicated a power sweeper would be brought in at the end of the week to clean it before the weekend.
Are the 4 to 6 inch rocks coming from the Lanci Pit and if so, how?
Mr. Hanratty indicated that yes, these rocks are coming from the pit operations. Apparently it is a well known issue if the staff on site and truck drivers don’t follow proper procedures when exiting the site. These large rocks get lodged in the space between the dual tires and once the truck builds up enough speed on the roadway they are ejected (like I said, I was glad the massive amount of dust billowing off the truck kept me a ways back). This is NEVER supposed to happen. The staff/drivers are supposed to inspect the truck tires before the trucks leave the site to ensure no rocks are lodged in the tires.
Mr. Hanratty indicated to me in a follow up email that “We will be talking to our contract trucking company immediately in order to ensure that they are following the practices we expect of them to inspect their wheels before leaving the site so that they can proactively limit the opportunity for these large stones being tracked onto the road.”
- What can be done about the massive spilling of dust off the site, both from trucks on the road and from wind across the site itself?
Mr Hanratty indicated that this is mostly the result of the internal roadways on the site itself. Since they are not finished roads the trucks throw up and carry out with them all of this dust and dirt. After our conversation in a follow up email he indicated that they will commission a new high pressure water truck that they will bring onsite within a month or so to help the situation and that “in the meantime our existing water truck and contractor high pressure water trucks and sweepers will continue to clean the roads, both internal haul roads and the Concession roads. We have internal protocols already in place to water the haul roads on an as needed basis and we also apply calcium to the roads which is an approved method from the MOE to deal with dust. We are reviewing the frequency of both of these already existing methods for dust control to see if improvements can be made based on the concerns you have raised.”
I’d like to express my gratitude to Mr. Hanratty for taking the time to not only talk with me, but to follow up on the issues in subsequent emails.
What I take away from all of this:
- Be vigilant. If you see a problem with any gravel pit operation make a complaint to both your local council and to the offending company. There are strict guidelines that these companies must operate under and you CAN make sure they do.
- Take Pictures. The quickest way to get action is to take pictures of any infractions or concerns and share them.
- Be courteous. The gravel pits are legally licensed business entities that are here to stay. If you are polite and courteous but still forceful, the companies (at least this one) seem to be more than happy to take the time to talk to you about your issues.
- Follow Up. If you report a problem, take the time to either revisit the site to see if it has been corrected or call to ask if corrective measures have been taken.