We received a number of complaints during the summer from residents worried about the possible impact on their homes of blasting at the CEMEX Quarry near Taffs Well.
Here's a flavour of the comments we received:
Very loud explosion and house shook like a small earthquake. Worst I have heard / felt in 14 years.
Whilst the blasts in the Morganstown area are seeming to get worse, this Tuesday was particularly bad. My house has never shook this much and windows slammed shut. Quite a few residents say this. Tuesday blast was much more powerful than before.
We discussed these comments with Graham Warrington, the Quarry's site manager.
He explained that:
The blast on Tuesday, August 20th was on the west face of the quarry and not the southern face; the southern face is the face closest to Morganstown. The weather that day was overcast and such conditions do affect the perception of a blast. Nevertheless, it was a relatively small blast and gave a low vibration reading.
For future blasts on the southern face the intention is to monitor in the vicinity of the properties where residents have expressed concern. Quarry blasting is a very sophisticated process and the way this operation is designed, prepared and executed is highly technical and subject to an array of regulatory, safety and operational criteria. The levels of vibration permitted are extremely low and far beneath any that would cause structural damage to a property. However, perception, which can be influenced by a number of factors including the prevailing weather conditions, can sometimes be misleading. In order to provide a clearer understanding of how this highly regulated operation is managed and monitored, the company can arrange for a session with either its own staff or a blasting contractor in order to explain the process, answer questions and gain feedback. Such a session could be organised at a forthcoming liaison meeting in order to allay any concerns residents may have.
It is good to see the quarry responding to the community's concerns - and it is reassuring to learn that the company works hard to keep vibration to a minimum. Indeed, we haven't received any further complaints since August.
In the meantime, please contact us (or the quarry) if you would like to attend the educational session kindly offered by CEMEX.