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  • Writer's pictureSamanntha Wright

Improved Operating Standards for STAR pit

As you are aware, the STAR pit was shut down for a few days last week because of the reported exceedances to acceptable dust levels. In order to resume operations, pit operators have been subjected to increased testing, above the federal standard to daily and/or real time monitoring. What follows are the enhanced dust and noise mitigation requirements from Alberta Transportation (AT) for those who operate at the STAR pit. With respect to noise:

The STAR PIT is to adhere to the Calgary noise bylaw. Special Provisions have been implemented to restrict the sound and dust generated at STAR by outside contractors (entities other than the BLV Group) - these are to ensure equal restrictions to the incoming contractors that the BLV Group is already contractually required to meet. In the past, these outside contracts have not had to adhere to the same restrictive standards and it is believed that this is from where the majority of the complaints have stemmed. As well, the BLV group will add another monitoring station. In conjunction with the measurements taken at the BLV monitoring stations, AT will also perform its own sound measurement testing from time to time. Here is the explanation of how the noise bylaws work when a bylaw officer investigates a potential violation:      The limitations are:

  • 65 decibels (dBA) measured over a one (1) hour period during the day-time**; or

  • 50 decibels (dBA) measured over a one (1) hour period at night-time** **In the event that the ambient noise level were to be higher than the above stated levels, the limit is 5dBA above ambient.

To determine if a breach has occurred, the noise level would be measured for a 1 hour period and averaged. If the average level is found to exceed the 65dBA (day-time) or 50dBA or ambient (night-time) by 5dBA then the operator(s) would be found in breach of the bylaw. AT has received a very firm and clear explanation / understanding from the City of Calgary bylaws Sergeant - operating within the noise bylaws are a contractual requirement and they will be enforced.  It is anticipated that in placing these restrictions on the seasonal contracts, that residents will find a stark contrast (improvement) to years past. With respect to dust particulate matter, mitigation measures include: *              Ceasing crushing operations when wind speeds exceed 75 kilometres per hour;

*              Applying calcium chloride to roads and high traffic areas in the pit (weather permitting);

*              Using special conveyors called super stackers (both telescoping and not) to reduce the drop distance on all material produced;

*              Sweeping of entrance when haul activities are occurring, based on monitoring of visible dust throughout the day;

*              Utilizing water truck operation when ambient temperature is above zero degrees; and

*              Improving correlation of dust monitoring data to other City of Calgary monitoring stations to ensure that the particulate matter produced is in fact related to the pit operations.

By Spring of 2018, Alberta Transportation has requested:

*              An additional noise and dust Monitoring Station to be deployed onsite;

*              Additional paving around the pit to further reduce dust and noise;

*              Enhanced application of Calcium Chloride on roads and high traffic areas in the pit;

*              Perimeter slopes be hydro-seeded with the goal of reducing dust;

*              A review to see if the number of stockpiles can be reduced; and

*              The Environmental Management Systems will be updated to 14001:2015 Standards.

Along with the City of Calgary bylaws Sergeant, AT has already done some baseline testing.  Once the data is compiled in a report, I have been assured that the information will be made available.

Again, a huge thanks to everyone and your persistence in pressing this issue, it would not have come this far without you.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact either myself or Alberta Transportation's Construction Manager, Shane De Lorey, at

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