Lockport City asks Lafarge to pay for waterline study

The City of Lockport, Niagara County, New York, has a $35,000 quote for a study of whether blasting in a stone quarry would endanger the city’s water supply line from the Niagara River.

A request from Lafarge North America for a city permit to expand its current Hinman Road quarry into a 9.9-acre parcel within the city limits is on hold because city officials fear that the explosions in the quarry might damage the century-old water main that carries water from the river at North Tonawanda to the city filtration plant on Summit Street.

The route runs past the quarry, where Lafarge produces limestone material for use in road paving.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, corporation counsel John J. Ottaviano said the city had a $35,000 quote for its own engineering study of the potential blast impacts. The city chose GHD Consulting Services to perform the work.

Thursday, the city mailed a letter to Lafarge asking for the company to pay for the waterline inspection. Perry A Galdenzi, Lafarge project manager, said it’s not a sure thing that the company will do so. Lafarge previously submitted a study by Greystone Engineering of Saratoga Springs that said the 110-year-old, 36-inch main would be able to stand up to the blasting.

“We certainly want the City of Lockport to feel very comfortable with what we’re doing,” Galdenzi said. “We have already provided a study that we paid a lot of money for, which indicated that our activities would not harm the waterline.”

“We certainly don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so before we commit to payment for anything, we want to see what they’re proposing over and beyond what we’ve already done and kind of take it from there.”

If Lafarge does not come across with the cash, “The council would have to re-evaluate where we go with the project,” Ottaviano said.

But he added, “I can’t blame them for not wanting to commit to a document they haven’t seen. I think their position is reasonable.”

Mayor Anne E McCaffrey said, “If they agree to it, we’ll go forward with the inspection. The inspection is critical for the Council going forward with the project.”

Galdenzi said the land the company is mining on Hinman Road would produce another two years of gravel, and the 9.9-acre piece in the city would extend that by about a year. Lafarge hopes that will keep its operations going until the state Department of Environmental Conservation approves, as the company hopes, a permit to dig a new quarry on the south side of Hinman Road in the Town of Lockport.

The company bought up most of the land in that area in recent years.


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