Quarry impact minimal
About 60 residents and stakeholders turned up Thursday at the Carden Recreation Centre to hear the findings of a three-year study of the cumulative affects of 12 quarries in the Carden Plain area. KRISTEN SMITH - THE PACKET & TIMES
The cumulative impact of the 12 quarries in the Carden Plain area is expected to be negligible, according to a study of the area.
The findings from the Carden Cumulative Impact Study — started in October 2009 for the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) — were presented Thursday evening at a public meeting at the Carden Recreation Centre in Sebright.
The $450,000 study was commissioned by the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (OSSGA) and paid for by the area’s 10 quarry operators.
Moreen Miller, CEO of OSSGA, said the study was undertaken because concern was expressed that the area’s quarries — which are responsible for monitoring their individual effect of development — may be having a cumulative effect on the area’s groundwater, surface water and ecological resources (flora and fauna).
She said this is likely the largest cumulative quarry study in the province to date.
Peter Taylor, a representative of the MOE said the study provided good information.
“I have been very pleased with the work that has been done,” said Taylor.
Taylor said there will be additional and ongoing monitoring of the cumulative effects of quarries in the area.
“This is really the first piece of the puzzle,” he said.
Kris Marentette, senior hydrologist for Golder Associates, said the goal was to understand the “additive effects of two or more quarries operating in close proximity to each other.”
Marentette told the more than 60 people who attended the two presentations how quarry groundwater levels are lowered when quarries are kept dry during operation.
The study group looked at the areas where individual quarry impact areas intersect. Two zones were identified as places of potential cumulative impact.
“We looked at the existing conditions, what’s going on today,” and predicted what will happen in 20 years, he said. He said the 20-year modelling used aggressive parameters: all quarries operating simultaneously and each extracting the maximum amount permitted by their licence.
“It’s very unlikely that we’re going to have cumulative effects,” said Marentette, adding this means it will not affect well water or surface water features.
Kevin MacKenzie addressed the cumulative effect of the quarries on water quality, the main focus of the surface water assessment, and indicated they don’t anticipate adverse impacts.
Residents expressed concern for the Cranberry Lake wetlands and Miller noted the study team had trouble isolating the affects of quarrying from other natural factors, such as beavers changing water levels.
“Are we pretty sure we’re not going to have an impact? Yes. Can we say 100%? No,” Miller said, “adding this is a go-forward, gather-more-information situation.”
Dale Leadbeater, a Raven Lake resident and environmental consultant, expressed concern the study’s definition of cumulative effects is “far too narrow,” and is more appropriately described as “overlapping effects.”
She points to the three quarries which surround the Cranberry Lake as an issue.
“We have to maintain those organic soils,” Leadbeater said, adding this requires groundwater and is important to maintaining the plant community.