The BGE endeavoured to minimise the adverse effects on humans and nature as well as on the commercial use of woodland and agricultural areas. This included the following measures:
Enabling continued commercial use
The 3D seismic measurements were carried out from November 2019 to February 2020. Preparatory work began in October 2019, and follow-up work was carried out in March 2020. The aim was to ensure that agricultural areas could largely continue to be used.
An ecological construction-supervision service was present on-site during the measurement period. The aim was to minimise the impact of the seismic measurements on the environment. The rules for the measurement period and the restrictions on the generation of seismic waves (see below) also took aspects of environmental and nature conservation into account. For example, the generation of seismic waves was avoided during the breeding seasons of rare species of birds.
Restrictions on the generation of seismic waves
The use of technology for generating seismic waves was subject to various guidelines. For example, these included the defining of areas into which vibration or drilling vehicles could not be driven. The required equipment had to be brought into the area by hand if necessary. Moreover, the speed of all survey crew vehicles was limited to 25 kilometres an hour on unpaved roads.
During the work, in order to avoid damage due to vibrations, vibration measurements were carried out in the villages, in the vicinity of buildings that were sensitive to vibration (this also applied to water and gas pipes), and on the site of the Asse II mine. If necessary, the power of the vibration vehicle or the quantity of explosives was reduced. If it was still impossible to rule out a breach of the limit values, the source point in question had to be omitted.
Restrictions also applied to the times at which seismic waves could be generated. Field work was carried out exclusively between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on working days. Vibration vehicles could be used on Sundays only in justified exceptional cases, albeit not in the vicinity of villages. Detonations were generally prohibited on Sundays.
Moreover, to reduce the impact on local residents, drilling and blasting work in the vicinity of the villages could only be carried out during daylight hours. Limit values also applied to noise pollution. At a distance of 10 metres, the vibration vehicles were not permitted to exceed a maximum noise level of 87 decibels, which roughly corresponds to the loudness level of a lawnmower or hairdryer.
During the seismic measurements, multiple measurement vehicles could be found travelling independently of one another via fields, paths and roads at various locations within the survey area. This was the only period in which there was a possibility of increased noise emissions – comparable to those associated with rubbish collection – in the vicinity of the vehicles, as well as the potential for short-term traffic disruption on roads. As with a mobile construction site, the measurement vehicles were protected by an escort vehicle with warning notices as well as appropriate signage. The work was carried out in compliance with all legal requirements with regard to noise protection and road safety.
Compensation for damages
If the 3D seismic survey resulted in claims for damages despite all of the preventive measures, these claims were settled by the BGE. Any damage that occurred was examined and made good on a case-by-case basis. Alternatively, damages were paid by prior agreement with the owners of the affected areas.
In order to ensure that the use of agricultural areas could largely continue, the 3D seismic measurements were primarily carried out in the winter months.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at the Asse information centre if you have any questions. If necessary, they will also put you in touch with their relevant specialist colleagues.
If you would like to see what the Asse II mine is like for yourself, we would be delighted to take you on a tour. Please contact the Asse information centre for further information.