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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 2550 (April 23, 2022).

25 Pa. Code § 77.564. Surface blasting requirements.

§ 77.564. Surface blasting requirements.

 (a)  The Department will not permit blasting to be conducted until the following requirements have been met:

   (1)  The blasting plan, under §  77.453 (relating to blasting plan), approved by the Department and the approved blasting plan is returned to the operator.

   (2)  Notification of completion of the requested preblasting surveys required under §  77.562 (relating to preblasting survey) is received by the Department.

   (3)  A copy of the proof of publication of each blasting schedule, in accordance with §  77.563 (relating to public notice of blasting schedule), is received by the Department.

 (b)  Blasting shall be conducted between sunrise and sunset, at times announced in the blasting schedule, except that mine opening blasting conducted after the second blast, for that mine opening, may be conducted at any time of the day or night as necessary to maintain stability of the mine opening to protect the health and safety of mine workers. For mine opening blasting conducted after the second blast, for that mine opening, the Department may approve ground or airblast vibration limits at a dwelling, public building, school, church or commercial or institutional structure, that are less stringent than those specified in subsections (f) and (i) if consented to, in writing, by the affected building owner and lessee, if leased to another party.

 (c)  The Department may specify more restrictive time periods, airblast or ground vibration limits, based on public requests or other relevant information, according to the need to adequately protect the public from the adverse affects of ground vibration, airblast or safety hazards.

 (d)  Warning and all-clear signals shall be different in pattern, audible within 1000 feet of the blast, sounded before and after each blast. Persons who work within the permit area shall be notified of the meaning of the signals through appropriate instructions. A person who conducts blasting incident to noncoal mining activities shall:

   (1)  Give sufficient warning that persons approaching the blast area may be warned of the danger and be given ample time to retreat a safe distance from the blast area when a blast is about to be initiated.

   (2)  Erect signs at least 500 feet from the blast area reading—BLAST AREA—SHUT OFF ALL TWO-WAY RADIOS—when electric blasting operations are located near highways or other public ways. The letters of these signs shall be at least 4 inches in height on a contrasting background.

   (3)  Place at the entrances to the permit area from public highways conspicuous signs which state ‘‘Warning. Explosives in Use’’ and which clearly explain the blast warning and all-clear signals that are in use.

 (e)  Access to an area possibly subject to flyrock from blasting shall be controlled to protect the public and livestock. Access to the area shall be controlled to prevent the presence of livestock or unauthorized personnel during blasting and until an authorized representative of the person who conducts the surface mining activities has reasonably determined that:

   (1)  Unusual circumstances, such as imminent slides or undetonated charges, do not exist.

   (2)  Access to and travel in or through the area can be safely resumed.

 (f)  Airblasts shall be controlled so that they do not exceed 133 dBL at a dwelling, public building, school, church or commercial or institutional structure, unless the structure is owned by the person who conducts the surface mining activities and is not leased to another person. The lessee may sign a waiver relieving the operator from meeting the airblast limitations of this subsection.

   (1)  Exceptions. The Department may specify lower maximum allowable airblast levels than those in this subsection for use in the vicinity of a specific blasting operation, if necessary.

   (2)  Monitoring. The operator shall conduct periodic monitoring to ensure compliance with the airblast standards. The Department may require an airblast measurement of a blast, and may specify the location of the requirements.

 (g)  Blasting requirements are as follows:

   (1)  Blasting operations may not be conducted within 800 feet of a public highway, unless precautionary measures are taken to safeguard the public.

   (2)  When a blast is about to be fired within 200 feet of a pipeline, the operator shall exercise caution as may be needed for the protection of the pipeline. The operator shall notify the owner of the line of the operator’s intention to blast, giving a description of the precautionary measures that will be taken.

   (3)  When blasting is to be done within 1,000 feet of schools or public buildings, it shall be done only during the time approved by the Department. Prior to the blasts, the operator or foreman in charge of the blasting operation shall, within 24 hours prior to the blast, notify persons within this area that a blast is to be detonated. Approval of the method of notification shall be obtained from the Department prior to commencing the blasting.

   (4)  Blasting may not be done within 300 feet of an occupied dwelling or other structure designated by the Department unless prior written consent of the property owner has been obtained.

   (5)  Blasting shall be conducted in a manner to protect the public from flyrock.

   (6)  Notwithstanding other regulations, blasting, whether of overburden or of mineral, may not be done or performed in a manner and under circumstances or conditions that debris is ejected into the air, constituting a hazard or danger or to do harm or damage to persons or property in the area of the blasting.

   (7)  When explosives are being loaded in drill holes in preparation for a shot, work within a radius of 50 feet of the blast area, except for the work being accomplished by the persons engaged in the blasting operation, shall cease, and machinery, other than machinery necessary to the blasting operation, within the confines of this area shall be brought to a complete rest. After inspection of the blast area by the Department, the Department may establish an alternate distance limitation.

   (8)  When a shot is about to be set off or fired, machinery within a radius of 500 feet, or a lesser distance specified by the Department, shall be brought to a complete rest, work shall cease within the confines of this area and workmen shall retreat to a safe location. This paragraph shall apply when the blaster first begins to wire the shot.

 (h)  Blasting shall be conducted to prevent injury to persons, damage to public or private property outside the permit area, adverse impacts on an underground mine, and to protect, to the maximum extent possible, the hydrologic balance.

 (i)  In blasting operations, except as otherwise authorized in this section, the maximum peak particle velocity may not exceed 2.0 inches per second at the location of a dwelling, public building, school, church or commercial or institutional building or other structure designated by the Department. The maximum peak particle velocity shall be the largest of three measurements. The Department may reduce the maximum peak particle velocity allowed, if it determines that a lower standard is required because of density of population or land use, age or type of structure, geology or hydrology of the area, frequency of blasts or other factors.

 (j)  The maximum peak particle velocity limitation of subsection (i) does not apply at a structure owned by the permittee.

 (k)  When seismographs are not used to monitor peak particle velocity, the maximum weight of explosives to be detonated within any 8 millisecond or greater period may be determined by the formula W = (d/50)2 where W equals the maximum weight of explosives, in pounds, that can be detonated in any 8 millisecond period or greater, and equals the distance, in feet, from the blast to the nearest dwelling, school, church, commercial or institutional building. The development of a modified scale-distance factor may be authorized by the Department on receipt of a written request by the operator, supported by seismographic records of blasting at the minesite. If the peak particle velocity will exceed .5 inch per second with the adjusted scale-distance, §  77.562(d) shall be complied with prior to blasting at the adjusted levels.

 (l)  When a seismograph is required to monitor the peak particle velocity, a seismographic record shall be obtained for each blast.

 (m)  The use of a formula to determine maximum weight of explosives per delay for blasting operations at a particular site may be approved by the Department if the peak particle velocity of 2 inches per second required in this section would not be exceeded.

 (n)  The Department may require a seismographic record of blasts and may specify the location at which the measurements are taken.


   The provisions of this §  77.564 amended under section 11(a) of the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. §  3311(a)); and sections 1917-A and 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. § §  510-17 and 510-20).


   The provisions of this §  77.564 adopted March 16, 1990, effective March 17, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 1643; amended October 11, 1991, effective October 12, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 4838; amended January 30, 1998, effective January 31, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 619; amended August 8, 2008, effective August 9, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 4355. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (240781) to (240784).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  77.108 (relating to permit for small noncoal operations); 25 Pa. Code §  77.453 (relating to blasting plan); 25 Pa. Code §  77.463 (relating to surface mining near underground mining); and 25 Pa. Code §  77.502 (relating to signs and markers).

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