Mining has been going on for a quite a long time in the whole world. It is worth noting that quarrying is an activity which is primarily aimed at extracting materials such as granite, limestone, slate and clay for various construction uses. On the same note, quarrying in Bangor has been done for more than a hundreds years due to the existence of karts topology. Bangor is located in eastern part of Pennsylvania near Pocono Mountains and West of Delaware Water Gap.
It bears noting that Karts topology which has dominated this area is formed on limestone rocks by dissolution, includes underground streams, caves and beautiful sceneries (Langer, 2001). All these sceneries have been destroyed by quarrying impacts such as air pollution, noise pollution, and damage to biodiversity, land disturbance and heavy metal / toxins release. The neighborhood has for along time experienced a lot of difficulties in dealing with these impacts which are controllable though have far reaching effects. Quarrying of Carbonate and other Rocks
Since smaller and regular shaped stone products are required, large blocks of stone are extracted to provide a room for modifications. According to Langer (2001) a block of stone is cut from the bedrock mass by separating the block on all vertical sides then undercut the block or break the block away from the bedrock mass (p. 6). The major methods of quarrying are channel cutting and drilling and broaching. In channel cutting a multiple chisel-edged channeling machine cuts a rock into bars while in case of drilling and broaching method, a drilling machine drills many deep holes in a coordinated pattern (Langer, 2001).
A broaching tool is then used to curve and chops the gaps between the drill holes which free the required block from the underlying bedrock mass (Langer, 2001). It is a requirement that the cutting be frequently sharpened for effectiveness Line drilling and blasting are the most modern methods used in quarrying in areas of Bangor. Line drilling involves the drilling holes in an overlapping manner and then sewing the stone using a wire saw or a chain saw (Langer, 2001). Blasting generally applies the use of explosives which break the stone blocks and produce small stones for crushing.
This therefore implies that blasting cannot be applied in quarry when a certain shape of rock is desired (Langer, 2001). Quarrying affects the surrounding area and the immediate wildlife with numerous environmental damages. 3. 0 Air pollution All forms quarrying are capable of releasing dust which pollutes the air. Drilling and blasting are known to produce the most of the dust that affect the surrounding air (Langer, 2001). Clearing the forest or vegetation cover can also produce a considerable amount of dust. Another source of dust production is during the removal of soil cover for development of the quarry.
Some of environmental factors that affect the concentration of dust include local microclimate condition, the dust particle size and the chemistry of the dust itself (Langer, 2001). Take for example a quarry like Capozzolo Slate Company which produces highly alkaline and reactive dusts from its mines and factory (Langer, 2001). If a coal mine is taken as a point of consideration, it produces a lot of heavy acidic dust. Air pollution from quarry dust becomes a nuisance over time since it deposits a heavy layer on plants and other surfaces it comes into contact with.
It has far reaching effects on health of individuals by causing respiratory complications and eye problems. With respect to plants, dust coat causes the blockage of their internal structures which leads to and damaging of leaves and their cuticles (Langer, 2001). The long term survival of the plant is generally interfered with by the dust. 4. 0 Noise pollution Noise pollution develops from quarrying activities which start from the land clearance to the transportation of the final product of the quarry (Langer, 2001).
The initial activities that produce noise pollution include those that are aimed at establishing access roads and rail connection, the quarry compound and also stone processing facility. The following procedure of exposing the stone mass to be extracted by removing all top soil using earth movers produces a lot of noise. In addition, the use of hydraulic excavators produces noise. Likewise, the drilling machines and blasting activities equally produce very loud noise (Langer, 2001). During the transportation of final product using heavy and powerful machines, truck traffic contributes to the production of noise (Langer, 2001).
Additionally, the processing facility produces a lot of noise since crushing requires a lot of power. Consequently, the noise affects the surrounding wildlife and humans. 5. 0 Damage to biodiversity The major negative impacts of quarrying on the entire environment have been damage to biodiversity. Biodiversity basically refers to a wide range of living creatures, including mammals, fish, insects, invertebrates, reptiles, birds, plants, and micro-organisms (Langer, 2001). Quarrying destroys the ecosystem and all the species that are support.
Moreover, the ecosystems are not only destroyed by the direct removal of the whole ecosystem but also indirectly by affecting and damaging related environment condition of the entire place (Langer, 2001). There are changes to underground water and surface water which cause many ecosystems to dry up while some experience flooding. Besides, the quality of water flowing downstream is compromised by the quarrying activities. On the same note, the water which comes into contact with the quarry by products is hard to purify since it cannot be filtered.
Underground water is the most affected if quarrying activities interfere with the sinkholes by causing them to collapse. Ground-water pumping causes change of the flow of surface water. The large amounts of soil carried to the rivers cause result in a lot of silt deposits that pollute water systems thus killing animals. Quarrying in the Bangor zone has resulted increase of water runoff to some parts while other parts have been experiencing reduced water quality. Generally, quarrying causes the lowering of the ground water table by forcing it to go under the rock interface (Langer, 2001).
The pumping of water out of the quarry may lead to high fluctuation of water ground water levels which may lead to drying up of the surrounding underground water systems. 6. 0 Land disturbance The land terrain is largely affected by the excavation activities and the damping of the waste soil. In to the bargain is the fact that the activities of making new rail line and roads cause a lot of soil movement which affects the natural terrain of the ground (Langer, 2001). Moreover, the land which is left after quarrying has stopped cannot be used economically through agricultural or commercial activities.
7. 0 Quarry Waste Just like many of the man-made mining activities, quarrying engages the production of considerable large amounts of wastes (Langer, 2001). A few quarries produce small amounts of permanent waste products with examples of sand and gravel quarries while others produce a large amount of waste material which includes clay and silt (Langer, 2001). The quarry wastes does note pose a big dander to the environment though it still have the potential for damage to the environment by contaminating any water that it comes into contact with.
The quarry leaves permanent scars and massive footprints in landscapes (Langer, 2001). The abandoning of the quarry site leaves Lange trunks of landmass unsuitable for other uses. 8. 0 Heavy metal and toxins release Quarrying may release a lot of heavy metal and toxins to the environment that affect people’s health negatively and cause far reaching impacts on the surrounding ecosystem if it is conducted in areas that have harmful minerals (Langer, 2001). The release of harmful materials such as silica which is found in rocks enters the lungs , thus causing silicosis which is deadly as it can rip off the lungs.
This may happen when little fragments silica rise as part of dust which is later breathed in through the nose. Another common effect of toxins is experienced when toxins are suspected to have been sipped in the water, which may lead an entire neighbourhood to go far away for search of clean and pure water. 9. 0 Recommendations The first measures to curb air pollution from quarrying activities should focus on the developing a forest cover that can contain the dust (Urich, 2002). Forest would help in increasing percolation and preventing soil erosion due to pumping of water out of the quarry site.
Watering the roads that are used by the transporting track is also very useful (Urich, 2002). The quarry operations should be controlled in order to minimize the emission of the heavy dust by using modern technologies such as sawing instead of blasting stones. Land geo-morphological condition should be improved by an importation of other materials to fill the huge holes so as to return the natural ecology. Authorities in Bangor have made a mandatory that a reclamation guide line be included with each application for any quarrying permit (Langer, 2001).
Contamination that occur through using abandoned quarry as dumping site can be voided by filling the quarry with soil that is free from any contamination. Moreover, water conservation measures can be applied by constructing stop dams and ponds that act as ground-water recharging sites (Langer, 2001). The surface run-off water is held back and all suspended solids are allowed to sink before entering the hydrological system. Controlling the soil erosion entry to streams by stabilization of exposed soil surface can be achieved by initiating vegetation cover growth on steep sides.
Noise pollution can be reduced if the trucks traffic uses well designed road rail network. Better methods of stone extraction should be applied to avoid the production of noise pollution which people associate with quarrying activities. The damage to biodiversity can be lessened by a careful use of machines to avoid affecting a large portion of ecosystem. Land rehabilitation should follow immediately after the quarrying activities are completed (Langer, 2001). The quarry waste should be returned to the exposed hole before leaving the mining site.
Finally, water that is drawn from the quarry should not be allowed into streams before its toxic levels being determined and ascertained that the levels are not dangerous. When all these are put into practice, then, the levels of pollution will greatly decrease. References Langer, W. H. (2001). potential Environmental Impacts Of Quarrying Stone in Karst- A leterature review. Retrieved August 10, 2010, from US Geological Survey web: http//geology. cr. usgs. go. gov/pub/ofrs/OFR-01-0484 Urich, P. B. (2002). Land Use in Karst Terrain:
Review of Primary Activities on Temperate Karst Ecosystems. Science for conservation (198). Map of Bangor mine Source: http://wa. water. usgs. gov/projects/bangor/maps. htm Direct data from the USGS website with statistics and status of Bangor Limestone Bangor Limestone State Alabama Original map label Mb Province Interior Low Plateaus Province Name Bangor Limestone Age Mississippian Description Bangor Limestone – Medium-gray bioclastic and oolitic limestone, containing interbeds of dusky-red and olive-green mudstone in the upper part.
Map references Szabo, M. W. , Osborne, E. W. , Copeland, C. W. Jr. , Neathery; T. L. , 1988, Geologic Map of Alabama, Geological Survey of Alabama Special Map 220, scale 1:250,000. Primary rock type limestone Secondary rock type mudstone Unit references Szabo, M. W. , Osborne, E. W. , Copeland, C. W. Jr. , Neathery; T. L. , 1988, Geologic Map of Alabama, Geological Survey of Alabama Special Map 220, scale 1:250,000. Source: http://tin. er. usgs. gov/geology/state/sgmc-unit. php? unit=ALMb%3B2