Ontario’s quarry industry not a consumer of water, association rebuts
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OSSGA counters environmental commissioner's comments
The Ontario Stone Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA) is concerned over misleading comments made on Tuesday by Ontario’s acting environmental commissioner, Ellen Schwartzel.
In an interview with the CBC, the commissioner included the sand and gravel industry in her comments regarding water users who pay nothing for water – leading readers and/or viewers to believe that the industry is a large consumer of water.
The reality is that the recent report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Small Things Matter, does not in fact cite the sand and gravel industry at all with respect to water. The truth is that while the industry does handle water – virtually all of the water stays in the local watershed.
“Aggregate producers are primarily water handlers, not consumers,” says Ted Wigdor, CEO, Ontario Stone Sand & Gravel Association.
“Water is used to wash fine particles from the extracted gravel or stone, and is recycled in a closed-loop system. Quarries that extract aggregate from below the water table pump out the water to work on a dry floor. This water is usually released into nearby streams and/or recharged into the groundwater system, so that all the water stays in the local watershed. Water is used to spray on roads and stockpiles to minimize dust resulting in some lost water due to evaporation or water transported away with gravel, but the amount is minimal.”
There are many misconceptions surrounding water and the aggregate industry. For a list of 5 key water facts, visit ossga.com.
OSSGA is a not-for-profit industry association representing more than 280 sand, gravel, and crushed stone producers and suppliers of valuable industry products and services. Collectively, its members supply the substantial majority of the approximately 164 million tonnes of aggregate consumed annually in the province to build and maintain Ontario’s infrastructure needs. OSSGA works in partnership with government and the public to promote a safe and competitive aggregate industry contributing to the creation of strong communities in the province.