If you live near Pyramid Materials Quarry, you may feel the effects of blasting. These operations conduct blasting to help extract minerals from the ground. People are often concerned about the effects blasting may have on their home. Blasting may cause your home to shake. The effects of blasting may rattle windows, dishes and pictures hung on the wall. However, blasting conducted within Pennsylvania’s regulatory limits will not damage your home.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for regulating the storage, handling and use of explosives in the Commonwealth. DEP explosives regulatory personnel work within the Bureau of District Mining Operations or the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation. A Quarry must apply for blaster’s licenses and permits. DEP’s Blasting and Explosives inspectors are well trained and are licensed blasters.
Pennsylvania’s blasting regulations were implemented to provide protection to people and property beyond the blast site as well as protection to personnel on the blast site. Performance standards are set to minimize the adverse effects of blasting to protect people and property: For example:
- Flyrock is prohibited. Flyrock is rock, dirt or other debris that is blown from the blast site during a blast. Blasts must be designed to minimize the risk of flyrock to reduce the chances of injury or property damage.
- Gases generated by blasting must not affect public health and safety. The regulations specify steps that must be taken to prevent adverse effects on the people from these types of gases.
- Strict limitations are placed on airblast- an airborne vibration wave resulting from a blast. This wave energy is characterized by its intensity, measured in decibels, and by its frequency, measured in hertz.
- Wave Intensity: Airblast typically diminish in intensity as distance from the blast increases. The intensity of an airblast must not exceed 133 decibels. This widely accepted limit was established through scientific research by the former U. S. Bureau of Mines to reduce annoyance and prevent property damage. An airblast at levels below the legal limit can cause your home to shake. However, airblast levels must be well above the legal limit to damage your home. Windows are the structural components of homes that are most vulnerable to damage from an airblast.
- Wave Frequency: Airblasts produced by most blasting operation usually have a frequency of less than 20 hertz, which is below the limit of human hearing. Sometimes blasts result in frequencies higher that 20 hertz and can be heard. It is important to note, however, that one’s ability to hear a blast has little, if anything, to do with the blast’s ability to damage property because even though it may be heard, it may not have the intensity required to damage property.
COMPLAINTS CONCERNING BLASTING, OR ANY OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES AT PYRAMID MATERIALS CAN BE DIRECTED TO THE FOLLOWING OFFICES: