Aggregate News




Bits & Pieces


  1. Air Quality Assessments presented in aggregate companies’ proposals typically include analysis for drilling, blasting, excavation, transportation, aggregate processing, ready-mix processing, site preparation and rehabilitation. 


  1. Initial plans can call for a temporary processing plant until market conditions warrant a fixed plant (open ended)


  1. Companies plan to mitigate dust through setbacks, landscaped berms, enclosed conveyors, spraying with water, environmentally friendly dust inhibitors, aggregate and truck tire washing.


  1. Word is that the dust from the Texada Island quarry in BC covers the trees so persistently that the famous BC rains do not wash it off.


  1. Dust and dust suppressants are widely recognized as toxic to plants and people. 


  1. How often are quarry sites inspected by the authorities for compliance with dust regulations?  Part Answer:  "The ministry [MOE] also relies on members of the public, such as yourself, to advise us when the environmental infractions are observed as you can appreciate that ministry staff are not always available to keep watch over the operations at the pit on a continuous basis." Letter to Mr. Ken Cressey from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment dated August 26, 2010, pg 2.
  2. Despite all the rules, regulations and best intentions, and noting that complete elimination of dust is not required under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA), what protection do we have when things go wrong?  Answer: "Health Canada is committed to maintaining and improving the health of Canadians ... Unfortunately, regarding your question about testing dust samples, Health Canada is not directly involved ...".  As well, "Health Canada has no regulations regarding management or mitigation of quarry dust..."  Quotations from a letter from Health Canada to Mr. Ken Cressey, dated May 28, 2010, after the death of Mr. Cressey’s wife
  3. “The requirement of operators to construct tree screens and perimeter berms is not controlled by the ARA or provincial standards but through the site plan. The site plan for a pit is normally drafted and approved by this ministry in a licence application while the site is virgin. The operator often chooses to add site screening on the site plan as a consideration to the impact on existing local landowners. The practice of screening has become commonplace in new applications for pits and quarries in Ontario but is not a requirement. In this case of a grandfathered licence, the site plan is a requirement after the licence has been issued, and no such considerations are required because the pit has been established in the area for many years with the authority to operate a pit without screening.”  Speech by Mr. Ken Cressey to the Standing Committee on General Government, 27-Jun-2012, Aggregate Resources Act Review (source)


  1. Facts: Dust or airborne particulate matter (PM) varies in size. Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) refers to dust less than 100 microns in diameter. Large particles tend to settle quickly, smaller more harmful particles can be carried great distances.  Dust is produced from blasting, crushing, screening and stacking operations as well as conveyor belts and loader and truck transport on site and trucks offsite.  Dust is also produced during overburden removal and construction of berms and from wind blowing over stockpiles and across barren pit floors.  (Unlike excessive noise, dust has to be mitigated during construction).  Dust increases corrosion and is harmful to vegetation.


  1. Fine particulate matter, 10 microns or less in diameter (PM 10) can be inhaled and is considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).  Smaller respirable particulate matter, (PM 2.5) with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, is even more dangerous, lodging deep within the lungs and tissue. There is no biological mechanism for clearing it from the body.


  1. Recent studies show that fine particulates pose a greater danger to our health than better known kinds of air pollution, such as smog, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. There is incontrovertible evidence that increased PM 10 is related to increases in cardiopulmonary disease, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumoconiosis and premature death in those with pre-existing conditions.  The elderly and the young are most affected.  Crystalline silica dust is common from processing sand and gravel and is a known carcinogen.



Want to see an example of quarry dust?  Check-out these videos: 


a)  Fire-in-the-hole (original sound) / Don’t Drink the Water (music)



[For a better viewing experience, allow the videos to buffer by starting and then stopping for a couple of minutes before restarting]



NEWS – Dust from Aggregate Operations




Posted By

Article Link



Road Hazards From CBM Lanci Gravel Pit In Puslinch

Kevin Johnson


Vera Scroggins

Video: Silica Dust Pouring Out of Cabot Frack Site

Silica dust drift


On multiple times I have argued about the dust from this site only to be met with the MOE saying it falls under the responsibility of the MNR. The MNR in turn says it is the responsibility of the MOE.”  Ken Cressey (Jeanine’s Story)




For a personal point of view, see Mr. Ken Cressey’s blog at link:





Return to AWARE-Ontario Aggregate News


Return to Home Page


List of Ontario’s Issues


What Can I Do?




Disclaimer: This information has been compiled through private amateur research for the purpose of allowing the reader to make an informed and educated decision.  However, while the information is believed to be reliable, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.