Aggregate Industries absolved of dust complaint

Aggregate Industries is not the primary cause of dust at its Essex County, Massachusetts site, says a report approved by the Earth Removal Advisory Committee.

“Aggregate has conducted a 14-day dust monitoring study to determine if particulate matter emissions generated by our quarry operations is causing elevated dust levels at 15 Minerva Street,” reads a letter from Lisa Young, Aggregate Industries company director of land and environment Lisa Young to Earth Removal Advisory Committee chairman Gene Barden.

“The study was conducted by Tech Environmental from September 29 through October 13. We are pleased to report the findings do not support the theory that Aggregate’s operations are a significant source to airborne particulate matter at 15 Minerva Street,” the letter states.

An accompanying report from consultant Marc Wallace of Tech Environmental of Waltham added, “Findings do not support the theory that Aggregate’s operations are a significant source of airborne concentrations at 15 Minerva.

However, levels are elevated and are likely due to other nearby sources such as the MBTA commuter rail, local road traffic and adjacent property clearing. The property is less than one half mile to the southeast of the quarry. Given the distance and natural barriers and man-made barriers between the quarry and the residence, the quarry operations are likely an insignificant contributor.”

Findings also indicate that particulate levels at 15 Minerva were higher than those at the southeastern property line of the quarry and dust levels around 15 Minerva were higher at night than during the day. Wallace said higher winds during the day disperse material.

“We’re not saying we don’t contribute but there are other factors,” attorney Chris Drucas said on behalf of Aggregate when the matter was discussed at the Selectmen’s meeting the same evening.

“We feel bad but it isn’t all coming from us. There’s a lot of dust suppression equipment in the quarry.”

Earth Removal Advisory Committee member Milt Fistel reported he had done studies on his own and “came to the same conclusion.”

“I’m sure some is coming from the quarry but we’re satisfied you can’t say it’s all coming from Aggregate,” Barden added.

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