News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet residents say no blasting at East Side quarry

Quarry now does hydraulic rock crushing, needs city approval for blasting

Joliet Municipal Building at 150 W. Jefferson St.

The Joliet City Council could vote Tuesday on a proposal to allow blasting at an East Side quarry where non-explosive methods have been used in the past.

The council at a workshop meeting Monday heard from a group of residents who urged a no vote or at least a delay until more could be learned about the potential impact on homes, schools and even the Sunny Hill Nursing Home that they said could be shaken by quarry blasts.

“I’m thoroughly shocked that this item even made it on the agenda,” Boise Walker said as she contended quarry blasting could cause structural damages to houses in the area.

The quarry northeast of Richards Street and Sandall Place has been operating for years using hydraulic rock crushing, according to a staff report on the proposal.

Blasting would yield more rock aggregate for the quarry’s primary customer, P T Ferro Construction, according to the staff report. Blasting contractor Quick Supply Co. plans a blast lasting a couple of seconds no more than every few days and as seldom as once a month, according to the report.

Council members who attended a community meeting held last month by the quarry operators for residents living closest to the site said neighbors appeared satisfied with the plan.

“There were some questions, and I believe everybody was satisfied with the answers,” council member Joe Clement said.

The opposition comes from a group of residents who have become outspoken on industrial projects that they have said detract from quality of life on the southeast side of the city by adding trucks to the road and now blast vibrations to the ground.

They were joined by Suzanna Ibarra, a Joliet Township trustee who is a likely candidate in the April city election for the District 5 council seat that takes in the southeast side of the city.

Ibarra said the city has not studied the potential impact of blasting, including what effect it could have on water tables in the area.

“I am very, very worried for residents in this area, and I am one of them,” Ibarra said, identifying herself as a resident of the Ingalls Park neighborhood.

Attorney Nathaniel Washburn, representing quarry owner VN Land, said he would discuss the matter in detail at a public hearing that precedes the council vote Tuesday.

But Washburn said allowing blasting would lead to less noise and less pollution while also increasing efficiency at the quarry.

“We believe with your approval we can do better and we can do more,” Washburn told the council.