Lehigh Hanson Materials Limited’s Sechelt mine (Lehigh Materials) has been a local employer and an active member of the Sechelt community since 1988. As a responsible operator, we make every effort towards ongoing management of our operational activities to ensure their effects are minimized.
Maintaining a reasonable balance between our noise impacts and the benefits our business brings to the Sechelt community is a priority. We are currently updating our Noise Management Plan in order to determine our noise sources and the potential impacts they may have on the areas surrounding our mine. Additional information about our Noise Management Plan and the work we have completed to date is outlined below.
Over the past several years, Lehigh Materials has been monitoring noise levels at different locations throughout the Sechelt community as well as the noise levels from different activities and operating equipment within the mine. This has provided us with a better understanding of the contribution of different noise from our processes and specific noise frequencies that can be considered bothersome.
Noise levels have been measured during the day and night to help establish a baseline of the types of noises that are generated from the various sources in the community, including the mine. The information is used by our consultants to generate a model that can:
- Create a visual depiction of quiet and loud areas throughout the community, helping us to prioritize our mitigation efforts.
- Allow us to theoretically test different noise mitigation solutions and determine which is most effective.
- Compare the noise level of daytime and night time operations, and the effect that different weather (such as rain, wind and snow) has on noise distribution throughout the community.
Through regular monitoring of the sound levels, Lehigh Materials is better able to pinpoint a specific source and make improvements or fix a maintenance issue immediately. You can see the noise produced in real-time from the monitors we’ve installed at Sinku Drive and Kwatamus Avenue. The monitors are also programmed to record any loud noises that they capture. All of this is information is publicly available on our Noise Monitor website.View Noise Live Monitor Readings
A sound barrier will be constructed around the loadout transfer station near Sinku Drive. The barrier is going to be constructed out of concrete blocks and a wooden fence which will reduce noise levels for the surrounding residents. Due to the steep grade and cultural significance of the surrounding area, detailed archaeological, engineering, and geotechnical work is currently underway, prior to commencement of construction. We are presently working with the shíshálh Nation Chief and Council to complete this project as efficiently as possible. Project completion is scheduled for end of summer 2019.
In addition to our sound barrier, several improvements have been made around the mine to address some immediate noise sources identified by the monitoring. In late 2017, new HDPE noise reducing idlers (rollers) were installed along the conveyor length running from the highway crossing to the start of the loadout conveyor. We also ran a successful trial of super-low-noise idlers for the first conveyor over the water and are currently installing them in this area. We have also installed noise insulated structures around our water pumps, and belting around the loadout conveyor that helps to reduce the noise.
Looking for more information about Noise? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions document, or reach out to us with your questions
During dry periods, we realize that dust can be generated from our mine and barge loadout. We currently implement a standard Dust Management Plan and are working towards making it more robust and efficient. Additional information about our dust management plan and the work we have completed to date, is outlined below.
Our Dust Management Plan implements protocols to mitigate dust generated from our production and processes, as well as dust generated from wind which we refer to as fugitive dust. Some of the protocols that Lehigh Materials implements are:
- Application of water and suppressants to gravel and unpaved haul roads within the mine site.
- Enforcement of low speed limits to reduce dust generated by site vehicles.
- Application of water to conveyor transfer points and material stackers with atomized water.
- Increased moisture content in fine materials prior to loading them onto the conveyor and barges.
- Standard operating procedures for barges and ships entering the bay that takes prevailing winds into consideration when approaching.
In addition to our standard dust management protocols, Lehigh Materials is working with the shíshálh Nation Chief and Council to implement a community wide dust monitoring network. This will help us track concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM) throughout Sechelt, to understand the sources. The PA-2 monitors will track PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in the air, which will be compared to the WorkSafeBC criteria for exposure on a regular basis. Air Quality Monitoring data can be reviewed in real time. View Live Dust Monitor Readings
Lehigh Materials also contracts consultants to conduct routine Industrial Hygiene assessments on employee exposure to PM2.5, PM10, silica, noise, and vibration within the mine area. Personal dust monitors are placed on employees with the greatest potential exposure to particulate matter and silica for a one week period. To date, no exposure rates have exceeded the accepted Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines criteria for particulate matter or silica.
The lighting used at the loadout structure is meant to ensure the safety of workers, nearby boats, and seaplanes, however; there are different modifications that Lehigh Materials can make to help reduce the amount of light pollution we are creating at night.
You may have already noticed some of the changes that we’ve made:.
- All ships are now required to turn off all deck lighting while docked in the Bay during loading.
- All lights along the loadout conveyor are turned off while loading ships. Lighting on the shiploader is required to be on while loading for the safety of workers.
- All unnecessary lights were disconnected, this includes the spotlight in the beach compound, and the lights on the west side of the conveyor walkway.
- Shielding has been placed around lights to reduce glare to the surrounding community.
- The existing high pressure sodium (HPS) lights have been converted to Dark Sky Approved LED lights. These new bulbs will give off a cool blue hue, with drastically reduced bulb glare.
- The circuits have been segregated along the loadout, allowing employees to turn off lights in areas that aren’t currently being utilized.