AUGUSTA — A couple who live near a West River Road quarry operation that has been the subject of a long-running dispute with some of its neighbors has sued its owner, the company that blasts on the site and the city of Augusta, claiming blasts to free up rock in the quarry have damaged their home, caused problems with their water and caused them emotional distress.

The lawsuit filed by Cheri and Pietro Nicolosi against the city of Augusta, McGee Construction, and Maine Drilling and Blasting seeks compensation for damages to their home and to have McGee’s permit to blast and extract rock at the site revoked. The amount of the compensation for damages was not listed in the lawsuit, other than “all damages allowed under Maine law, including reasonable costs and attorney fees.”

The suit, filed for the Kenneth Street couple by Bangor attorney Eugene Sullivan Jr., claims blasting close to a residential neighborhood — in this case, the Grandview neighborhood — constitutes an “ultrahazardous activity,” poses a high degree of harm and is an abnormally dangerous activity.

It alleges that since 2011, the couple’s home, in the Grandview neighborhood about 1,000 feet away from McGee’s quarry, sustained “cracks in the basement, damage to exterior walkway and driveway, floor tile cracks, nails popping, wall cracking, issues with water quality, uneven living room bay window, grout in bathroom floor deteriorated, shower lead issues, black mold in dishwasher and shower,” and problems with a dining room light and the septic system

It also states Cheri Nicolosi has suffered emotional distress, which her doctor is prepared to testify was aggravated by the blasting activity.

It states the city of Augusta regularly has issued permits to McGee for blasting “despite knowledge of complaints from plaintiffs and other individuals similarly situated in that neighborhood.”


City Manager William Bridgeo said the Maine Municipal Association’s Property and Casualty Pool, Augusta’s insurance carrier, would defend the city in the lawsuit, which court records indicate was filed July 7.

He declined to comment on the pending litigation, saying only the city takes such matters seriously and that “we’ll rely on the attorneys at Maine Municipal Association to provide a defense in the matter.”

Michelle Allott, an attorney with Farris Law who represents the West Gardiner-based McGee Construction, declined to comment Wednesday.

Will Purington II, regional manager for Maine Drilling and Blasting, said the company “is aware of what’s going on up there and we’re engaged in the process.”

Residents of the Grandview neighborhood have complained for many years about activities at McGee’s pit, mostly about blasting but also, in 2011, about odors coming from a former asphalt plant operated by another, since closed, business operating there.

McGee officials and the technical supervisor for Maine Drilling and Blasting, which blasts for McGee in the pit, have said their blasting is safe and has not damaged homes in the neighborhood.


McGee’s mineral extraction license for the site, which includes the ability to blast to free up rock and aggregate materials, used in construction projects, is up for review and potential renewal by the Augusta Planning Board. Last month the board postponed consideration of the license renewal until its Aug. 8 meeting, so board members could consult with a blasting expert.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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