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SEISMIC MAP MAY CUT NOISE COMPLAINTS AT QUARRY

For years, Cheektowaga residents who live near a stone quarry off Como Park Boulevard have complained of vibrations and noise from explosions at the Buffalo Crushed Stone excavation site.

But those concerns should be alleviated by spring -- the start of the next blasting season -- thanks to a recent seismic mapping study that is pointing the way for the quarry operator to better control blasting operations.

Buffalo Crushed Stone representatives met Wednesday with officials from the Town of Cheektowaga and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as residents from the Bellevue community, to discuss the results of the study, performed by Vibra-Tech Engineering of Hazleton, Pa.

Last November, engineers placed 165 digital blasting seismographs at various spots around the quarry in a 1 1/2 -mile ring. The seismographs recorded ground vibrations from five blasts. The data showed how some homes responded to the vibrations.

From its studies, Vibra-Tech identified blast patterns that are least likely to affect neighboring homes.

"The Vibra-Tech report indicates the direction Buffalo Crushed Stone needs to move," said Councilman Thomas M. Johnson Jr. "It provides guidelines for timing charges and spacing the charges to minimize vibration and noise."

According to Johnson, blasting complaints increased last year, apparently because the company had been working more in the western end of its 90-acre site.

While noise and vibrations are big concerns, resident don't have to worry about damage to their homes.

Doug Rudenko, senior geophysicist with Vibra-Tech said the findings showed "that although the vibration generated by the blasting is felt by the residents the probability of damage to their homes is zero."

Company representatives said they are encouraged by the results.

"Yes, we do plan on implementing the recommendations and continue working with Vibra-Tech over the course of the year," said senior vice president Jamie Hypnarowski. "It's a situation we want to rectify and come to a solution that's good for the residents, the town and Buffalo Crushed Stone."

Buffalo Crushed Stone provides 65 to 70 percent of the stone and aggregate used in the construction industry in Western New York, from foundations in new homes to road projects, Hypnarowski said.

An informal meeting to discuss the results of the study with area residents is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 7 in the Bellevue Fire Hall. Representatives of Vibra-Tech Engineering will be on hand to discuss their findings.

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