BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Stavola Construction Materials, Inc., will get to operate locally for another year.
The Bridgewater Township council recently voted unanimously to allow the company to continuing mining the Bridgewater quarry off Chimney Rock Road for 2020.
Stavola manager Tom Branch appeared before the council Dec. 5 for a renewal of the company’s operating license. He said it was required to submit an annual renewal application, which he added had been deemed complete by the township’s quarry master, Chip Knolls.
Branch also said that inspections were conducted throughout the year, while blasts or shots made at the quarry were also monitored.
“The blasting activity is regulated by the Department of Labor,” he said.
Branch added that the Department of Labor monitors shots on the quarry site, and also records levels of seismic activity.
A total of 57 shots were recorded in the quarry in the past year, which had resulted in phone calls from seven different residents about those blasts.
“All calls are responded to,” he told the council.
He added that all pertinent data had been reviewed, and could be provided if requested.
Branch also brought up a mining map of the quarry for 2020, and said that mining limits have not changed from last year. He pointed out certain areas that are still being mined, while pointing out other areas that are more for separating shale and salt.
He also said there are no more mining events planned for this year, and that a new railroad spur was completed off Route 22, which was brought into the quarry and will be used to transport materials.
Branch pointed out that blasting is to be concluded on the north side of the quarry, hopefully in the next year, and its conclusion will likely see a drop in calls from residents. He said the quarry reclamation plan is exactly the same as last year, with no expansion of mining limits—and that if those limits are exceeded, additional areas could be reclaimed.
Council president Matthew Moench asked about the 57 shots that had taken place in the past year, and Branch replied that that figure was higher by seven events, ostensibly from the previous year.
“The demand for material was up,” Branch said.
He explained that 15 calls in all about shots had been received from the seven residents he had previously mentioned.
“There were concerns for vibrations and aero pressure,” said Branch of the noise generated by the shots.
He also said that blasts occurred throughout different areas of the quarry, which itself encompasses an area of 400 acres.
Moench asked about one shot this year that exceeded noise limits, and asked if the quarry had spoken with the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District after concerns had arisen at that time. Branch responded that it had been requested that Stavola talk to the school system, to possibly place the district on the call list for upcoming shots.
“We did make an effort,” said Branch, who added that the Department of Labor had also made an inquiry. “We were told the school administration was not interested.”
Moench asked how much more material was left at the quarry that would be subject to blasts, and Branch said the quarry could last another 15 to 20 years in all, with variable amounts of material removed from year to year. Moench then inquired about truck traffic from the quarry in that area, especially with a shopping center located nearby.
“It’s busy down there, no question,” said Branch. “We’ve had great cooperation with the town and the police department.”
He mentioned that some motorists would make high-speed turns onto Route 22, and added that there had been some discussion with the county to allow the trucks, some of which weigh tens of thousands of pounds, to get out on the road and up to speed to merge safely with traffic.
One resident later said that he got cut off by dump trucks every morning, and called it “frustrating.”
The resolution for the renewal passed by a 4-0 vote.