Tuesday, 23 June 2015

AI wants to quarry down to the water table - of the aquifer that supplies 106 people

Which might not be so laughable - if AMEC knew exactly where the maximum water table was, and AI could be trusted not to quarry beyond it.

But after two years of groundwater monitoring, this is what AMEC says on the maximum groundwater levels - "there is uncertainty about how smooth the transition is because there is no piezometer in the centre of the Site and there is the possibility for steps in the water table related to faulting" 2.4 and "the two [maximum water table grids] therefore represent just two of the many possible interpretations of the data which themselves are based on an incomplete parameterization of the detailed groundwater dynamics of the site" 4.2.

And on the matter of trust, AI also made assurances to the Environment Agency not to quarry below the water table at Venn Ottery Quarry, and this is what it looked like a few weeks ago.

DCC and the EA will stipulate that "an unsaturated zone of at least 1m [be] maintained across the site", but as it stands, AI’s application is to quarry down to the maximum level and then backfill "by placement of 1m combined thickness of topsoil and subsoil over the quarry floor to replicate current ground conditions" 3.42. So AI already wants to play fast and loose with people’s drinking water.

And for the 106 people reliant on the Straitgate aquifer, who is to effectively monitor what goes on if AI is let loose with its excavators and dumper trucks, with all that sand and gravel and no-one looking? Who was monitoring Venn Ottery? The first that local people would know is when their drinking water supply fails or becomes polluted. And then what? Would AI connect people to the mains and pay their water bills in perpetuity, or would AI say 'the borehole readings seem fine - it can’t be anything to do with us'?