Archive for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Residents irate over quarry blasting

June 18, 2013


One afternoon in mid-January Debby Freidell was at home in rural western Douglas County taking dishes out of her dishwasher. She had just set a dinner plate on the kitchen counter when an explosion occurred nearby, making it feel like the entire house had “bucked up,” sending the plate into the air and onto the floor.

The explosion, it turned out, was from blasting at the small, nearby Hamm-Buchheim Quarry north of Clinton Lake on East 550 Road. Until about October 2012, area residents and county officials say, the quarry had been idle for most of the previous 35 years.

Debby's husband Steve said the blast damaged the foundation of their house. Seismic monitors recorded the blast at 0.565 on the PPV (peak particle velocity) scale, well above the threshold that geologists say is a risk for damaging certain kinds of buildings.

The Feidells, who have lived in their home since 2003, said they received no advance notice that the quarry was about to resume blasting. Now, they are among several residents near the quarry who are asking the Douglas County Commission to put stricter limits on the quarry's conditional use permit.

“We realized when we purchaed this property that the quarry was there and don't deny them the right to extract their rock,” Steve Freidell said. “What we do have a problem with is their actions which have created damage to our property and unsafe living conditions.”

Douglas County commissioners will consider their complaints when they meet at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at the County Courthouse.

Officials from N.R. Hamm, Inc., were not immediately available for comment.

Besides the blasting, Freidell and other nearby residents say they are concerned about excessive noise, truck traffic from the quarry, and excessive dust on the gravel road used by the trucks.

According to the Lawrence-Douglas County planning department, the permit was first issued on the quarry in 1977 and was supposed to be subject to annual reviews. But since the quarry has been inactive, no reviews have been done recently, and there are no written records in the file to show any were done in the past.

In other business, the county commission will:

• Consider a recommendation from the Community Health Plan Steering Committee to accept the “Roadmap to a Healthier Douglas County: 2013-2018 Douglas County Community Health Plan” as a guiding document for Douglas County.

• Consider approval of a temporary business permit for an asphalt batch plant at the Hamm's Eudora Rock Quarry site, 1213 E. 2400 Rd., for producing hot mix asphalt for road construction.


costello 4 years, 8 months ago

Who are the Ginsbergs?

Also, there's a typo here: “We realized when we purchaed this property ..."

And Freidel is spelled two different ways - with one 'l' and with two.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 8 months ago

costello should be capitalized as well. "Costello" But I'm not one to point out others mistakes. :-)

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 8 months ago

Shouldn't that be "other's mistakes"?

I thought the spelling, grammar, and punctuation Nazi days were over.

LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

There's often a significant, low-frequency rumble at about 4:45 p.m. each workday. What is it from?

Armored_One 4 years, 8 months ago

depending on the size and proximity to the blast itself, the shifting of the earth could have easily snapped pillar foundations and cracked foundation walls for finished basements.

If a house that is settling can break a foundation wall, why can't an explosion?

I agree, though, that building your house, or buying one, too close to a quarry is a braindead concept. A lot of it depends on the distance of the explosion and how powerful it was. You'll notice no one was available from Hamm to answer questions like that. If it was way overpowered, or too close to the residential structures, then I suspect Hamm should have to answer for it.

roadwarrior 4 years, 8 months ago

oletimer...don't know where you live but I'm 3 miles from the place and can feel my place "tremble" ...That's not a city slicker complaint but a valid insistence that the quality of life of a citizen be respected by using responsible business practices.

"Seismic monitors recorded the blast at 0.565 on the PPV (peak particle velocity) scale, well above the threshold that geologists say is a risk for damaging certain kinds of buildings."

That doesn't appear to ME to be a responsible practice of business.

Armored_One 4 years, 8 months ago

USGS has monitors in this general area and have for quite some time.

Peter Hancock 4 years, 8 months ago

The USGS does NOT have monitors in this area anymore, and haven't had them for about 20 years. That's per folks at the Kansas Geological Survey. There are some in Missouri around the New Madrid fault, but not here.

Armored_One 4 years, 8 months ago

20 years? Then how did the USGS release information about the earthquake a bit further west of us a couple years ago in regards to our location if they have no seismic monitors here? The report was published online.

I could be wrong, since it's been a while since I read the report, but I do remember it came from the USGS.

kskufan1987 4 years, 8 months ago

I can see where blasting could cause the breaking of a foundation. But in looking at survey maps , why is it the house furthest from the blast site is the only one complaining of cracks. Also by just googling the area you can notice just how dry it has been simply by the pond that is almost dry . There are to many variables in it to say what the cause is. Two years of very little rain did the back fill around the house cause settling and crack it. Is it sitting directly in or on the rock shelf ? As far as the the truck traffic goes, the road is in better shape now than its ever been. Wash boards are gone its graded on a regular basis, as well as treated for dust. I've seen the dust really bad when you meet one of the Mercedes or Lexus that blast the road at crazy speeds daily.

Bike 4 years, 8 months ago

That googlie map is not real time . . . Yet.

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