Thursday, 3 August 2017

Emergency working

The whole argument behind Aggregate Industries' unorthodox extraction scheme, behind not leaving 1m unquarried above the maximum winter water table to protect drinking water supplies, is that it relies on summer working, or at least:
Mineral working will not be continuous but in campaigns of 5-7 weeks duration and will be predominantly in the summer when groundwater levels will be much lower than the maximum water level identified. 1.1.3
But AI's consultants supplied an extra detail:
Excavations will maintain a 1m unsaturated ‘freeboard’ or standoff above the maximum winter water level during the winter months or when the water table is high unless there is an overriding emergency situation.1.1.3
We posted, for local residents reliant on the site for their drinking water, that:
What an emergency situation might be, Amec does not say. To AI, running low of gravel stocks could be an emergency.
DCC's Reg22 request wanted to know about it too, and was:
... unconvinced by the information supplied of the need for any winter working at all.
So we were all intrigued to know what an "emergency" really meant, and the truth has come out:
The term ‘emergency winter working’ is to be deemed a strong term for what is essentially working to operational requirements. Aggregate Industries will endeavour to extract mineral in the months when the water table is expected to be low. However, if there is increased or unexpected demand working may be required during the winter months. 2.16.1
Or in other words: 'We’ll protect drinking water supplies, unless we can flog some more gravel'. AI tells us not to worry:
It is noted that even in winter months, the water table can be more than 1m lower than the MWWT. 2.16.1