HUBBARD TWP. Report: Blasting isn't to blame

Seventeen homeowners have complained about cracked walls.
HUBBARD -- At least one resident of a Hubbard Township neighborhood will appeal a state report that concludes there is no link between blasting at a stone quarry and damage to nearby homes.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued the report based on property owners' complaints filed against City Aggregates & amp; Recycling Inc. of Youngstown.
However, an ODNR order finds that City Aggregates' blasting exceeded limits of its state-approved plan.
The company's permit allows for blasting at its Stone City Products facility in Brookfield Township.
Resident: Mary Jane O'Hara is one of 17 residents of the Kermot Heights area that has complained to trustees or ODNR that they think the explosions have caused hairline cracks in their walls and ceilings.
Wampum Hardware Co. of New Galilee, Pa., blasts stone in the quarry on the Hubbard-Brookfield line in Brookfield. It's crushed for use around basement walls and in road beds.
The blasting is done about 1,500 feet from O'Hara's home and began in early 2001.
O'Hara said Tuesday she will appeal the ODNR finding because it doesn't attach blame for the damage to her home or those of her neighbors.
If the appeal is rejected, O'Hara explained, she and her husband, Robert, "will have to look at our options."
Conclusion: Michael J. Mann, an ODNR blasting specialist, concluded that though the ground may vibrate and knickknacks rattle, there is no direct correlation between how a blast feels and potential for causing structural damage.
The ODNR order doesn't call for any fine or permit suspension.
"To me, it's a light penalty. They are destroying the same rock we're trying to preserve," said O'Hara of her 1.3 acres and neighboring properties.
John Annichenni, City Aggregates spokesman, said Tuesday that he can't comment until company officials meet with those from Wampum Hardware.
In the order, ODNR found that 11 of 20 blasts were not monitored by a seismograph at a gas-oil wellhead on the property as required. Also, the weight of explosive charge has exceeded the maximum allowable by as much as 710 pounds.
In addition, the plan limits the diameter of the holes drilled to insert explosives to 3 inches. Holes were drilled more than twice the diameter.
It ordered that future blasts be designed and conducted within the approved plan.
Asked who monitors that blasting is properly conducted, an ODNR spokeswoman responded the residents do through their complaints.
O'Hara said that at least she has gotten the attention of the state.

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