Our Concerns about the Blasting Contractors

We’re not sure what happened to the first blasting contractor, who had submitted blast “plans” for Applications 1 and 2 and then suddenly was replaced by Dyno Nobel. But we have concerns about this new blasting contractor for a number of reasons.

Blast Plan and Simulations.

Dr. Favreau, who wrote a blast analysis for us, has pointed out several times in his report, how inaccurate and unreliable the plan submitted by Scotian Materials is.

For example regarding fly rock, “Dyno predictions are largely undervalued, not only because Dyno uses an unreliable calculation method, but also because Dyno does not take into account the variations from the nominal values which invariably occur for the actual values of the blast parameters.” (R. Favreau, May 2016)

Dyno Nobel’s plan used a calculation method called I-Blast. As Dr. Favreau explained this same method was used in a Northern Quebec mine, and estimated fly rock would travel no further than 46 m horizontally. The fly rock in fact travelled as far as 328 m. That is 7 times further than they estimated with their math. Dr. Favreau states without hesitation that Dyno Nobel’s results in their Goffs plan are dubious.

Dr. Favreau also took issue with the fact that it was as if Scotian Materials and their lawyer were withholding the blast plan from us, as if we didn’t have a right to know what would be taking place near us and have a chance to speak to our own safety. He also expressed concern that Scotian Materials and their consultants appeared completely unconcerned with our safety. All legal and reasonable thresholds for ground vibrations, concussion, and blasting near gas pipelines will be far exceeded even if everything goes perfectly according to plan. Flyrock could reasonably reach distances and heights as to cause death or injury to passing vehicles on highway 102 or airplanes in the approach to runway 05. If things don’t go perfectly, the pipeline may be sheared. Think they couldn’t possibly plan a blasting plan like this? Read our expert’s report, or read below on environmental issues with this blaster, and consider the same blaster sent flyrock through a Halifax apartment about a dozen years ago. Pipeline explosions do happen, just ask Google.

Please read the analysis or peruse the sections on blasting on our website, here and here. Dr. Favreau states this location poses unacceptable risks to residents and passersby and should not be used for quarrying.

Environmental Track Record.

We also asked that Nova Scotia Environment consider carefully the parties employed by Scotian Materials in the application to open Fall River Quarry / Goffs Quarry. A very superficial Google search resulted in enough infractions to introduce serious doubt that extreme caution and care are always used by the blasting contractor Dyno Nobel when it comes to environmental protection. As we mentioned previously, the MSDS sheets from Dyno Nobel for the explosives named in the 2016 industrial approval application state not to be released into the environment. As we mentioned before, the only treatment of effluent waste in the proposed plan is for sediment and not the carcinogens in the explosives. Of course, we didn’t see the MSDS sheets in the application (a convenient omission). Have a look at what a very quick search turned up:

In 2009, “Dyno Nobel pleaded guilty to four charges under the Ontario Water Resources Act for environmental infractions related to a 2006 spill of storm water that likely included ammonia into the St. Lawrence River. The company was ordered to pay $175,000 in fines” (http://www.thewhig.com/…/dyno-nobel-maitland-faces-another-…).

A smaller leak resulted in a $17,000 EPA fine in 2009, with the agency saying that Dyno Nobel failed to notify emergency responders about the leak for 11 hours.

In 2010, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division also found five “serious” violations at the plant related to processes surrounding anhydrous ammonia storage and other problems, fining Dyno Nobel $3,120” (http://www.oregonlive.com/…/oregons_largest_fertilizer_pla.…).

Also in 2010, Dyno Nobel disposed of illegal wastewater into an open pit and pleaded guilty to “depositing, or causing, permitting or arranging for the deposit of waste into land or land covered by water” and was fined $110,000 (https://ohsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/…/08/ECI-Dec10.pdf).

In 2011, “Dyno Nobel, Inc has agreed to settle a series of alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at the company’s Cheyenne plant for $110,900” (https://yosemite.epa.gov/…/a8f5ecb84ef0740d852578ca0073d5d5…).

Also in 2011, “because of Dyno Nobel’s West Virginia Code violations, Dyno Nobel shall be assessed a civil administrative penalty of four thousand eight hundred seventy dollars ($4,870) to be paid to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for deposit in the Water Quality Management Fund” (http://www.dep.wv.gov/…/Documents/Revised%20Dyno%20Nobel.pdf).

In 2012, “the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a $2,400 penalty to Dyno Nobel Inc. for failure to comply with conditions of its wastewater discharge permit for its fertilizer manufacturing facility in Deer Island in Columbia County” (https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-300449431.html). In 2013, “Dyno Nobel Inc., has agreed to pay a $257,167 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA), Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) at its facilities in the cities of Louisiana and Carthage, Mo” (https://yosemite.epa.gov/…/bb8f7f53a92100f685257c08005ddd86…).

Dyno Nobel’s parent company Incitec Pivot was recently fined $30,000 for allowing fertilizer to enter a river (thttp://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/epamedia/EPAMedia16012101.htm) and an infamous trail derailment in January 2016 that spilled acid cost the company $14 million (http://www.theage.com.au/…/incitec-profit-hit-by-train-dera…).

This is in addition to a major fly rock accident in Halifax in 2003 (http://www.cbc.ca/…/company-handed-50k-fine-for-blast-1.553… which mentions in particular the “blasting expert” that Scotian Materials allowed to represent them at the public consultation, Paul Caza).