BRIDGEWATER, NJ - With no new area being requested and a new approach to blasting to minimize the effects on residents, Thomas Branch, of Stavola Quarry, recently spoke before the Bridgewater Township Council about the progress made at the quarry on Chimney Rock Road over the last year.

Branch said operations for 2017 are expected to continue in the same location as in 2016, at the northwest corner of the property.

In addition, Branch said, as they are approaching the residential areas of Haley Court and Linberger Drive, they have requested that the blasting contractor evaluate the results of recent blasts to understand how to minimize the effects on residents.

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“During the last two months, we’ve been successful in maintaining the level of shots that were conducted,” he said. “As we have gotten closer to the properties, we have been able to stabilize and maintain the level of the results.”

“We have methodologies we are implementing that are being deemed successful in reducing the net effect on homes,” he added. “An actual explosive agent has been modified to reduce the net effect on surrounding properties. We’re using electronic blasting caps to be adjusted to delay the time between the results.”

Basically, Branch said, as they have gotten closer to the residential homes, they have been able to ensure that the volume and other effects from the blasts have not increased.

In addition, Branch said, the number of complaints from residents that they have fielded from the blasts has remained the same year over year, between about eight and 15 since 2013.

“If we had not made adjustments, there would have been an increase (in volume and shock) and more complaints,” he said. “We reduced the distance and are still seeing the same numbers. That means it’s working.”

In answer to a question from council vice president Allen Kurdyla, Branch said they are not aware of any reported damage to homes that felt the effects of the blasts.

“If we get any reports, we say to consult the insurance company, who can check existing structures and request information to come to a conclusion independently about whether there was damage to structures,” he said.

In addition, councilwoman Christine Henderson Rose noted that there had been complaints at the end of 2015 about dust from the trucks traveling along Chimney Rock Road from the quarry.

Branch said that that is no longer an issue, and was occurring during the completion of the Chimney Rock Road interchange.

“It took about a two-month period for truckers to become aware that the opportunity exists through the interchange rather than using the local roads,” he said. “We had great assistance from the police department, gave maps to truckers and told them how to use the interchange. It’s been very successful.”

But overall, Branch said, Stavola is not seeking any more expansion in its work as it requests a renewal of its operating license.

“We are looking for the same approval that was granted last year,” he said. 

The township council approved a resolution to renew the Stavola Quarry Operating License, on Chimney Rock Road, for 2017.