Sandblasting worries neighbours of auto body shop

Some neighbours of an auto body shop in Gloucester are worried sandblasting nearby could pose a threat to their health, and the provincial Ministry of the Environment is investigating.

Family complains to Ministry of Environment about haze of swirling sand

Some neighbours of an autobody shop in Gloucester are worried that nearby sandblasting could be posing a threat to their health, and the provincial Ministry of the Environment is investigating.

The Di Nuzzo family moved to their Gloucester home four years ago, which is across the street from Belko Auto Body — a business that's been running since 1994.

In 2007, the shop started sandblasting heavy machinery in an outside tent with the doors open and Derek Di Nuzzo said he's worried about the air her family is breathing in.

The Di Nuzzo family says they're worried about sandblasting at a nearby auto body shop in Gloucester. (CBC)

"What's the health hazard, the health risks that sandblasting pose on us as residents in the neighbourhood?" Di Nuzzo wondered.

Owner says no sand leaves the property

But the shop's owner said the company only uses beach sand. He said the sandblasting creates a hazy vortex of sand near the entrance of the large tent, but no sand leaves the property.

"They're being adamant that what we're doing up here is illegal, but it's not," said Bob Robinson, adding he's only received one complaint.

Bob Robinson, owner of Belko Auto Body, says he's using beach sand and it doesn't leave his property. (CBC)

Staff members from the Ministry of Environment have been out to the site about five times since the complaint was lodged in January, according to issues project co-ordinator Mike Heeringa.

"We've instructed the company to keep the doors closed," Heeringa said, adding the samples still have to be tested.

Robinson said it's too dark inside the large outdoor tent with the doors closed and he's looking for another solution. He said he can't buy a clear tarp because it isn't strong enough and the tent also needs flowing air.

He said the length of the tent could be extended and he's currently looking into that.

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