Environmental Considerations at a Crushing Site

Dec. 19, 2018

 At Mellott Company, our core competency is crushing stone. With our extensive knowledge of crushing stone, we are also aware that with the environmental disturbance comes environmental concerns.

Accordingly, there’s an understandable tension between environmental considerations and productivity at crushing sites.

That doesn’t mean prioritizing environmental stability should come above everything else. What it does mean is that quarries should seek to balance environmental considerations while maintaining an active quarry. By paying attention to environmental considerations, you can ensure compliance, improve community relations, and protect people and the environment while allowing your site to thrive.

This task can be complex, but it is necessary. Here are a few areas to consider.

Land Permits and Usage

Obtaining land use permits pertains mostly to new crushing sites. Typically this involves a general mining permit, but some projects can require additional permits. For example, in order to open a crushing site in New Jersey, you may require a Portable Water Supply permit, a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit, or a myriad of others depending on the locale and the type of quarry. The application process varies from state to state.

In most cases, once you’ve acquired the correct permits, most of the land use considerations are limited to the scope of your crushing site. Crushing sites must maintain a perimeter and keep crushing production and pollution contained within them.

Air Quality

Air quality permits are also necessary for rock crushing production. These also vary on a state-by-state basis.

Larger crushing sites, which may disperse a larger amount of material into the air, can apply for a Title V permit (as noted under the Clean Air Act). These permits are overseen at a high level by the Environmental Protection Agency but are still generally granted by local parties on a regional basis.

Crushing sites’ biggest impact on air quality, of course, is dust. Fortunately, there are built-in measures that have been created to reduce the amount of dust crushing sites add to the air. These measures are mostly related to water control.

Water sprays can be incorporated into various crushing plant components in order to dampen particulate matter and bring rock dust out of the air. Roads, rock products, and machines can be sprayed down via water trucks to reduce dust as well.

By using the proper measures, dust can be managed so that site workers and the surrounding environment are kept safe.

Waste Disposal

Waste disposal is another environmental consideration within a quarry. At sites that produce granite or limestone, concerns are mostly limited to the disposal of machine fluids (like oil) and slurry.

For machine fluids, a waste management company is often hired to dispose of products appropriately off-site.

For slurry (the semiliquid mixture that results from cleaning rock products), crushing sites can build in slurry ponds in order to clean water before returning it to the environment. As part of this process, water flows through a series of ponds. Along the way, particles settle so that water is purified before being returned to a source.

At mineral crushing sites, there may be other environmental considerations. Mineral content may seep into groundwater or pose hazardous material challenges. In these cases, crushing sites can work closely with local authorities to stay up-to-date on any potential issues and ensure compliance.

Site Reclamation

The reclamation process is another common consideration that takes place after production is complete.

The general principle for reclamation is to return land to its original state. This means filling pits, replacing natural soils, and working to re-grow natural vegetation by planting grasses, shrubs, and trees. Depending on land usage agreements, the exact specifications of reclamation may vary.

It’s important to remember that reclamation takes time. Projects often span years before evidence of a quarry is no longer visible, but the end result is rewarding.

Want to learn more about rock crushing environmental compliance?

Aggregates are the foundation of so much infrastructure, but it is important to consider the environmental risks and take precautions.

At Mellott Company, we’ve been serving the aggregate industry for decades. We’re proud to help quarries improve their crushing sites – and part of that means wisely balancing environmental considerations with the realities of production.

To learn more about how to ensure compliance, get in touch with us today at 800-634-5634.

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