P.O. Box 40572 Upper Brant Post Office, Burlington, Ont. L7P
November 21, 2005
NELSON QUARRY APPLICATION
REVIEW OF NOISE IMPACT SURVEY
PERL is a Burlington community organization committed to the protection of the Niagara
Escarpment, through the promotion of environmental stewardship, quality of life and
sustainable development. Our primary focus is the protection and preservation of the
Mount Nemo plateau, within the Niagara Escarpment.
The following is PERL’s review of the NOISE IMPACT segment of the proposed Nelson
Quarry Application. This review, with comments and recommendations, is directed to the
Peer Review process for JART – Joint Agency Review Team.
Please note that our observations, comments and recommendations in no way indicate
PERL’s acceptance or agreement of the proposed Nelson Aggregate quarry. PERL and
its membership are firmly opposed to the proposed quarry. The entire quarry proposal
is unacceptable and should not be licensed. However, should the proposed Nelson
quarry be licensed, Nelson / Lafarge should be held to a much higher standard; since the
aggregate extraction would be occurring in a UNESCO designated World Biosphere
We have attempted to be as thorough as possible. However, there may be issues that
arise that we wish to comment upon at a later date.
All references are taken from the Noise Impact Study Prepared for Nelson Aggregate
Co., by Aercoustics – Engineering Ltd. Dated May 31 2004
1. SCOPE OF THE NOISE IMPACT STUDY
The Study considers only the proposed expansion area activities. These noise
generators are dealt with in a pragmatic way. The existing quarry’s activities are
continuing, and most is proposed to continue; therefore must be considered as
part of the future “integrated” Nelson aggregate quarry operations i.e. crushing
plant, asphalt plant, 450 trucks trips per day, air brakes, truck and equipment
back-up beepers, in addition to the rock drills, rock loaders & movers, explosions.
All this necessary processing equipment and machines contribute to the ambient
noise level, which for a rural setting is unacceptable.
Recommendations # 1
The study criteria must be expanded to include ALL processing equipment,
machinery and trucks that are part of this quarry’s integrated operations – existing
The only receptor on the North side of #2 Sideroad is R2.
This should be extended to include more receptors, specifically on Guelph Line
east side of existing quarry and along North side of existing quarry.
When the proposed quarry is in Phase #1 or #6 it will be at its deepest, the haul
road to the North side of #2 Sideroad (crushing plant location) will be on a steep
gradient. This will mean that trucks hauling to the crusher will generate
considerable noise and pollution.
This should also be part of any study for noise impact.
You must adjust the acoustic model criteria to reflect the whole integrated
aggregate processing operations.
2. ACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENT
The location of the existing and future quarry is clearly in a rural setting and yet
Aercoustics has used the higher urban criteria at the receptors, which is more
forgiving – Why is this? The existing and proposed quarries are on lands currently
designated as Niagara Escarpment Rural.
Recommendations # 2
Quantitative information should be incorporated into the study in order to be able
to review the use of the rural criteria, which is lower and the reality which country
living should be able to deliver.
Nelson should have to meet the rural criteria, on Niagara Escarpment Rural lands,
not the urban criteria for the City of Burlington.
3. CHOICE OF CRITERIA
Although the study is not comprehensive enough and ignores many generators of
existing noise, it indicates that some residents near to #2 Sideroad experience
significant noise. The MOE noise limit for day / night limits should be 45 / 40 DBA
for rural settings.
Recommendations # 3
It is essential that the study criteria be expanded to include ALL noise generators
both future and existing quarries; it must be a fully inclusive and comprehensive
study. The noise limits need to be appropriate for a rural setting i.e. Day / Night 45
and 40 DBA respectively as per MOE standards for a country or rural setting, for
Niagara Escarpment Rural lands.
4. NOISE PREDICTIONS
The Noise Study has incorporated noise data from the Aercoustics database for
the equipment. Compiled and averaged data does represent the real world; and
may well misrepresent the state of Nelson’s equipment, and its noise abatement
programs, as being better than it actually is, being that this is a very old facility.
Why not go to Nelson’s Mount Nemo operating quarry and take actual noise
readings of the equipment and machines, which will be used in the in the future
integrated quarry operations? No estimations, just actual facts. Most of the existing
equipment will be used in the proposed quarry expansion, so actual data is
available to be measured i.e. rock drills, shovels, pit trucks, rock movers, crushers,
loaders, asphalt plant, 450 trucks being loaded daily, back-up beepers, air brakes,
sump pumps, blasting, etc. Extra-heavy loaders will move hundreds loads per day
of blast rock from the proposed quarry to the processing plant, generating
significant amounts of noise, amplified by the tunnel between the adjacent sites.
This noisy operation does not belong in a peaceful rural parkland setting.
Recommendations # 4
Repeat the study to include actual measured noise generated by ALL of the
operation’s equipment, so that the study will be based upon factual data, and not
theoretical estimates. By all operations, we mean the processing equipment and
asphalt plant in the current quarry in addition to the proposed quarry equipment
and machines. The noise generated by the Nelson Aggregate operation, and
heard by area residents, will be the summative and compounding effect of all its
mining and processing activities.
5. SITE PREPARATION
Noise generated by equipment stripping overburden, and building the noise
attenuation berms for the proposed quarry has been ignored from the Nelson
study. All noise sources need to be included in this review.
Recommendations # 5
The above activity, at or very near to grade, should be addressed and
incorporated into the study.
6. VERIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE
The noise impact Study does not provide any means of verification that the
operating facility will comply with MOE guidelines.
Recommendations # 6
An acoustical audit per MOE NPC-233 should be conducted now on the existing
equipment, and upon start up, if the proposed quarry is approved. Actual noise
readings / measurements of equipment should be used; then regular repeat
readings of the equipment should be taken and corrective measures taken to
reduce the noise to below allowable levels. If theoretical data based noise criteria,
is used, then comparisons between table 2 noise levels and actual readings
should be made and adjustments made accordingly to the equipment.
Whenever non-compliance is found, it must be reported to the MOE; records
maintained of the measurements and corrective actions taken to bring the
equipment or facility into compliance. Any equipment that can not meet MOE
guidelines must be modified to compliance, or replaced; it can not be allowed to
Many complaints from local residents have been made, but no appreciable action
or improvements have been forthcoming from Nelson Aggregate. Many residents
have expressed their frustration with trying to reach satisfactory solutions with
Nelson Aggregate management.
Recommendations # 7
All complaints received by Nelson must be logged, recording person’s name,
address, date and time of the complaint. Details of the type of complaint and any
relevance to Nelson’s activities need to be promptly investigated. This information
should be sent to MNR and / or MOE every two weeks; and details of follow-up
and any connection to Nelson activities noted. All incidents should be brought to a
A proper complaints and corrective actions policy and procedure must be
instituted. This procedure should become part of Nelson’s “Best practices manual”
and be included as part of their conditions of operation and documentation, if they
are to be granted a license for their proposed quarry expansion.
8. Overall Conclusions
This study is not comprehensive enough and lacks real acoustical data, which
should give the real picture and not a theoretical one.
The mitigation measures of berms constructed ahead of phased construction
activity is only effective for the limited scope of the study - if the study is made to
be fully comprehensive and rural noise criteria limitations are imposed, the
mitigation measures may need to become much more extensive.
Aercoustics has used urban noise limit criteria in a rural setting, which is totally
inappropriate in PERL’s view.
The hours of operation of the quarry and for blasting are too extensive; trucks start
arriving at the quarry as early as 5:30 am, disrupting residents’ sleep.
Recommendation # 8
The rural criteria for noise limits must be the standard to which Nelson must
The hours of operation of the quarry should be restricted from 7:00am to 6:00pm
summer and winter, reference Burlington By-Law 19-2003
The trucks hauling to and from the quarry should be prohibited from using of
engine brakes, north of Dundas Street.
The Noise Impact Study should be repeated to include all equipment involved in
the total quarry operation – existing and proposed.
Once this revised and comprehensive report is agreed upon, together with any
noise mitigation measures for meeting the criteria set by MOE, an operational plan
with detailed procedures should form part of the conditions for licensing, should
the application be approved.
PERL does not believe that the Noise Impact Study prepared by Nelson
Aggregate is adequate for maintaining the health and viability of the environment
and the community of Burlington. Many important issues are not addressed in the
study and when they are, they are not thorough enough to pass the test of
responsible management. The community, through the JART process, shares the
due diligence responsibility to ensure that we are doing our best to protect the
environment, the natural systems, the groundwater; and to safeguard the quality of
life of the residents of Burlington.
A quarry on top of the Mount Nemo plateau, part of the Niagara Escarpment is the
wrong place for an open pit mine.
We respectfully ask that this quarry application be rejected.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on the Nelson Aggregate
Per Ken O’Malley