Town of Amherst, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amherst 8-17-1992 by L.L. No. 13-1992; amended in its entirety 12-5-2005 by L.L. No. 11-2005. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction administration — See Ch. 83.
Excavations — See Ch. 106.
Noise — See Ch. 138.
Zoning — See Ch. 203.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Any action generating vibrations or noise that may cause damage and includes, without limitation, blasting, pile driving and the use of vibratory equipment.
A colorless, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas that has the molecular formula CO. The molecule consists of a carbon atom that is triply bonded to an oxygen atom.
A licensed professional engineer retained by a developer to supervise development, including blasting operations.
A person conducting or involved in conducting blasting operations and includes prime or general contractors as well as subcontractors.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
A property owner or other person developing land where blasting operations will take place.
The New York State Department of Transportation.
Erie County.
Includes a law, statute, ordinance, code and regulation.
Loss control consultant.
The movement of carbon monoxide or other hazardous gases by any means and along any path.
An individual, firm, partnership and/or corporation.
The Town of Amherst, New York.
A railroad or pipeline or other facility for the transmission of petroleum products, electricity, steam or water or telephone, optical, cable or telegraph service or brine.
Town functions under this chapter shall be carried out by the Town Engineer as to public works projects and by the Building Commissioner as to private projects.
The Town may require a developer to retain the services of a consulting engineer for any development project involving blasting.
Explosives for blasting shall be stored, handled and used in accordance with this chapter and applicable state or federal laws, rules or regulations.
Blasting for public and private projects shall not commence until a fire prevention permit is obtained from the Building Department.
Blasting shall be conducted so as not to endanger persons or property, and unless otherwise permitted, the specific location of the blasting site shall be covered or otherwise confined.
The contractor shall control blasting operations to avoid damage to existing structures from ground or air vibrations. The blasting operation shall be conducted in such a manner as to prevent the migration and hazardous accumulation of carbon monoxide or other hazardous gases in nearby structures.
The contractor shall be responsible for all claims resulting from its blasting operations and any related unacceptable carbon monoxide or toxic gas levels and shall save harmless the Town and its officers, agents and employees from any and all such claims. Contractors shall provide $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate bodily injury, property damage and indemnification insurance coverage, naming the Town as an additional named insured.
No person shall discharge explosives, nor shall any person excavate in any then-existing street, highway or public place for blasting purposes or in connection with blasting, unless notice thereof, in writing, shall have been given at least 72 hours in advance to any person, corporation or municipality owning or operating a utility facility in the area. The person having direction or control of such excavation shall ascertain whether there is a street, highway, utility facility, habitable or occupied structure, or public place within 600 feet of any point of discharge of explosives and give notice to the occupant of the structure and to the person, corporation or municipality owning or operating the same; provided, however, that in any emergency, it shall be lawful to discharge explosives to protect a person or persons from an immediate and substantial danger of death or serious personal injury or to avoid substantial damage to property.
If, during the course of any blasting, direct or indirect damage or the potential thereof is occasioned to any utility facility, the person having direction or control of such work shall promptly take the measures necessary to protect individuals and the public from loss and shall immediately notify the person or municipality owning or operating a utility of such damage or potential damage to its facilities. Neglect on the part of the person having direction or control of such works to take necessary safety precautionary measures or to immediately notify the owner or operator of a utility of damage or potential damage to its facilities, occasioned by such person or under his or its direction or control, shall be a violation of this chapter.
Nothing herein contained shall preclude or prevent the recovery of monetary damages by the owner or operator of the utility or by any other person suffering damage from the disruption of utility services occasioned by blasting.
The contractor shall obtain and pay for all permits and licenses required for work regulated by this chapter.
The contractor shall obtain the Town's and the consulting engineer's written permission before commencing blasting operations. All work in connection with blasting shall comply with this chapter and other laws relative to the handling, storage, transporting and use of explosives and the protection of life and property. In the case of conflict between the provisions of this chapter, other laws related to the handling, storage, transporting and use of explosives and the protection of life and property and contract specifications or requirements, the contractor shall comply with the strictest of such requirements.
When the consulting engineer or the Town determines that excavation by blasting may injure or damage adjacent rock, masonry, utility facilities, dwellings or other structures or the blasting operation may create the migration or hazardous accumulation of carbon monoxide or other toxic gas, and gives the contractor notice thereof, the contractor shall discontinue blasting operations. The failure of the consulting engineer or the Town to provide such notice shall not limit the liability of the contractor to third parties, including the Town, for any damages caused by blasting. Rock that is not permitted to be blasted shall be removed by pneumatic hammers or other means approved by the Town and the consulting engineer. Where damage occurs because of the contractor's operation, the contractor shall bear all costs of repair and take precautions and safeguards to prevent any further damage.
Blasting shall not be done within 300 feet of any radio transmitter or radio-frequency emission equipment such as high-frequency welders, and blasting caps shall be kept in tightly closed, non-sparking, all-metal cans when in the vicinity of such equipment, unless blasting caps immune to radio-frequency emission are used. The intensity and extent of blasting in the vicinity of any pipe conveying combustible or flammable gas or liquids shall be subject to restrictions reasonably imposed by the owner or operator of the line. Should a utility facility or street intersect a blast area, rock shall be removed without blasting for a distance required by the Town, unless alternate crossings and methods are approved by the Town.
The Town may establish other conditions to provide for the safety of life, prevent the migration or hazardous accumulation of carbon monoxide or toxic gases in structures and protect existing facilities and public and private property from damage from blasting.
Signs pertaining to two-way radios and warning lights are to be erected and flagmen provided by the contractor as required by the Town, the consulting engineer or law.
Any damage to bridges, foundations, conduits, buildings, homes, utility facilities or appurtenances shall be repaired or replaced by the contractor and the developer.
Test shots may be required and, if required, shall be documented in writing, in the presence of a representative prior to commencement of blasting on property involving excavations of 50 or more linear feet or charge weights of 3.5 pounds or greater. The contractor's consulting engineer and LCC shall be present, and permission to proceed with the blasting will be contingent upon issuance of approvals (written or telephoned) by the consulting engineer and LCC. Modifications must be made on the job if seismograph readings indicate values exceeding two inches per second peak particle velocity.
Blasting procedures and explosive quantities shall be adjusted so that ground vibrations in the vicinity of existing structures and utility structures are no higher than the levels set by this chapter or other applicable, more restrictive standards. These procedures should include but are not limited to blast pattern design, spacing, delay times, smaller-diameter holes, lower bench heights, etc.
Photographic equipment and materials shall be acceptable to the consulting engineer, the LCC and the contractor's insurance company.
The contractor shall employ a loss control consultant (LCC) who or which shall be a person or company with a minimum of five years' experience in vibration and carbon monoxide monitoring, precondition surveys and loss control for construction in urban areas. The designee shall provide proof of professional errors and omissions insurance with a minimum limit of $1,000,000 from an insurer authorized to do business in this state and submit sufficient data to satisfy the consulting engineer of his or its competence in this field and be prequalified with the Town in the tendering stage.
The loss control consultant shall be responsible for the following activities:
Reviewing the contractor's blasting plan and ensuring that the work can proceed in a manner considered safe by accepted industry standards.
Performing a precondition survey of adjacent structures, the findings of which shall be available to the contractor's insurers.
Performing the seismic monitoring.
Performing elevation monitoring and setting up existing crack monitoring devices where deemed necessary to identify changes.
Investigating and reporting on all claims or complaints before, during and after construction. All reports shall be submitted to the Town in writing, with copies to the contractor and the complainant.
Monitoring all work generating vibrations.
Performing continuous monitoring of carbon monoxide levels in all habitable or occupiable structures within 600 feet of the blasting location. The monitoring shall begin at least 12 hours prior to the blast and shall continue until at least seven days after the occurrence of the blast.
Responsibilities of the LCC during the construction process are:
A precondition damage analysis of those structures in the area of influence of the construction project that might be affected by the construction activities.
The transcribing and preparation of detailed reports of the structure(s) surveyed.
A post-construction damage analysis of properties of owners who have filed damage claims.
If damage claims result from construction, the LCC will prepare a formal report of the precondition survey on the structure.
Precondition surveys and damage analyses shall be carried out and detailed reports prepared on all structures within 600 feet of any blasting operations and/or the nearest perimeter property, whichever is greater. The reports shall be furnished to the consulting engineer and the Town. The Town reserves the right to modify the perimeter distance.
In addition to carrying out a precondition survey, the owners of all properties within a six-hundred-foot radius, as appear in the records of the Town Assessor or otherwise known to the contractor, shall be notified at least seven days prior to the commencement of any blasting and provided with an informational pamphlet (similar in content to Blasting Is a Science) and educational information regarding carbon monoxide and the potential for carbon monoxide migration. The form of these pamphlets and introductory letters shall be approved by the Town. The letter shall identify the nature of the work, the contractor(s) involved and the contact person for the contractor(s) involved.
The LCC shall prepare a blast plan on the precondition survey to include:
The contractor(s) name(s).
The contract number and description.
The name(s) and address(es) of the property owner(s).
The date and time of report.
The name of the individual contacted.
Photographs, exterior and interior (with description, date, etc.).
Sketches with dimensions.
Detailed descriptions of existing foundations, structures, superstructures, walls and ceilings, including:
Visible cracks.
Detectable weakness.
Detectable deterioration.
Photographs and drawings to document this information.
Interior inspection may be waived if the property owner does not permit access.
Existing carbon monoxide level(s) within a structure prior to blasting.
Identification of openings within a structure for the potential migration of carbon monoxide or other hazardous gases.
Neither review by the Town of the blast plan and techniques nor adherence to the limits of vibration specified herein shall relieve the contractor of any responsibility for the accuracy and adequacy of the blasting, exercising proper supervision and field judgment and otherwise satisfying the requirements and objectives of these regulations.
All blasting operations shall be monitored by the LCC. He shall conduct vibration monitoring of every activity during blasting, utilizing the monitoring procedures and equipment specified.
The contractor shall use a blasting method satisfactory to the DOT, the DEC, EC and the Town.
A monitoring report, in writing, shall be submitted to the Town within 24 hours of an event, or immediately on site, if the recommended limits are exceeded. The report shall contain seismographic printouts, climatic data, operator data and all other information applicable to the event.
The contractor shall, in any event, submit weekly reports of daily blasting operations satisfactory to the consulting engineer and the Town.
The contractor shall continuously monitor the carbon monoxide levels in all habitable or occupied structures for the period starting 12 hours before the blasting event to seven days after the blasting event. Within a habitable or occupied structure, an audible alarm shall be activated if the carbon monoxide level meets or exceeds 10 parts per million (ppm). For carbon monoxide action levels, refer to Appendix A of this chapter.[1] Carbon monoxide levels of 10 ppm or higher shall be reported within one hour to the Town of Amherst Fire Control Office at 689-1212 (primary alternative), or 911 shall be called (secondary alternative). In addition, all carbon monoxide levels above 35 ppm shall be reported to the Commissioner of Building within 24 hours.
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included at the end of this chapter.
The contractor shall conduct all work in such a manner that the resulting peak particle velocity does not exceed the following limits at the line adjacent to existing aboveground structures in the vicinity of the project:
Distance Versus Peak Particle Velocity Method
Peak Particle Velocity of Any Components*
(inches per second)
0 to 100
100 to 200
200 to 500
500 to 1,000
Over 1,000
The instrument's transducer shall be firmly coupled to the ground.
The blasting shall be conducted so that the low-frequency ground or air vibration does not exceed the limits in Figure 7.26(f).[1]
Editor's Note: Figure 7.26(f) is included at the end of this chapter.
All instrumentation proposed for use on the project shall have been calibrated within the previous six months to a standard which is traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Characteristics of required instrumentation are listed below; the instrumentation shall:
Measure, display and furnish a permanent record on a strip chart of particle velocity components and airblast over pressure. It is acceptable for the vibration record to be stored on a magnetic tape for subsequent display and analysis, but the analysis of vibration velocity and frequency content must be completed and reported within 24 hours of the event. It is not acceptable for particle velocity to be calculated after the event from displacement or acceleration versus time waveforms.
Measure the three mutually perpendicular components of particle velocity in directions vertical, radial and perpendicular to the vibration source.
Have a flat velocity frequency response with a minimum broadband of six hertz to 150 hertz, with a tolerance equal to or better than +10%.
The contractor shall be completely responsible for all damages resulting from the operations and shall, as a minimum, take whatever measures are necessary to maintain peak particle velocities within the specified limits. Modifications to blasting methods required to meet these requirements shall be undertaken at no additional cost to the Town.
Sensor mounting. The ground vibration sensor (particle velocity sensor) shall be buried in the ground or mounted on a large, hard surface where possible, such as a concrete sidewalk, an asphalt roadway or firmly packed soil. Mounting ground vibration sensors on loose soil, gravel or any other loose surface is not acceptable. The sensor must be bolted down or strapped down to the ground with an apparatus capable of resisting a force equal to at least twice the weight of the sensor. This will require devices such as metal shields to anchor the sensor to the ground. Sandbags placed on the sensor for restraining in lieu of anchoring devices are not acceptable.
Particle velocity sensor location. The particle velocity sensors shall be located at the building with the closest slant ranges to the event approximately 1.5 meters or five feet from the foundation wall closest to the event location or at other locations acceptable to the LCC.
Elevation monitoring points shall be established in such a way so that the property is not defaced and shall take into account vegetation and snow cover.
Carbon monoxide test instruments must meet the following minimum requirements:
Have a digital display capable of measuring increments of one ppm to two ppm at an accuracy of 5% to 10%.
Have a scale to read at least up to 500 ppm.
Reach 90% of the final reading within one minute.
Have the ability for continuous sampling.
Extreme care shall be exercised in blasting. No blasting shall be done adjacent to any part of a structure until proper precautions, approved by the consulting engineer, are taken to ensure against damage. Such approval shall not relieve the contractor of responsibility for damage. In case blasting damage occurs to any portion of a structure, to the material supporting or surrounding it or to adjacent properties or utility facilities, the contractor and developer, at their own expense, shall rebuild or repair such structures, foundations and utility facilities to the satisfaction of the owner or the Town (in the case of a Town-owned project) or pay the cost thereof. No blasting shall be performed at any time except by experienced persons certified to perform such activities and approved by the consulting engineer or the Town.
Before the firing of any explosives, access to the blasting area shall be effectively guarded to exclude all unauthorized persons. The contractor shall then sound a warning distinctly audible to all persons within the blasting area. All such persons shall retire to a safe distance or to a safe shelter. Such safe locations shall be designated by the contractor. The contractor shall than examine the blasting area to make certain that all persons have retired therefrom to the designated place of safety. No blast shall be fired while any person is in the blasting area. Subsequent to firing, no person shall be in such area until permitted to be so by the contractor, as announced by an audible sound.
Blasting shall be conducted so as not to endanger persons and property. Material being blasted shall be covered on all exposed sides with a strong woven matting or wire rope not less than 1/2 inch in diameter or other equivalent cover, approved by the consulting engineer, which will be effective in preventing particles from being projected into the air by the blast.
Blasting operations and the storage and handling of explosives shall be performed in strict accordance with this chapter, other applicable laws and New York State Department of Labor Industrial Code Rule 39; Part 1176, New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code; Chapter 83, Article II, § 83-8, of the Building Construction Administration Code of the Town of Amherst; NFPA 495: Explosive Materials Code; NFPA 498, regarding explosives in motor vehicle terminals; and the latest edition of the Blaster's Handbook by E.I. duPont DeNemours and Company.
Blasting shall be started only after written authorization by the consulting engineer and the Town.
After each blast is fired, the contractor shall thoroughly scale the excavation, and all dangerous loose material shall be removed and the excavation shall be made safe before work proceeds. If removal of loose or shattered rock or other material enlarges the excavation beyond the required limits, this shall not relieve the contractor of his obligation to make such removal, and he shall not be entitled to additional compensation for the removal of this material.
The charges used shall not make the excavation unduly large or irregular, nor shall they shatter the rock upon or against which masonry is to be built, nor shall they be allowed to damage existing structures at the site or in the vicinity thereof.
Blasting is permitted only from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Dust control is required as outlined in Industrial Code Rule 33 while blowing the drill hole before loading, after the blast and during excavation. Dust control shall be approved by the consulting engineer before blasting commences.
The use of ammonium nitrate-fuel oil-prill (ANFO) is not permitted within 600 feet of a residence or occupied structure.
It shall be unlawful for any person to store, handle or use explosives in the Town of Amherst outside the Village of Williamsville in violation of this chapter or commence blasting before obtaining a fire prevention permit. Any person who violates this chapter or commences blasting without first obtaining such a permit shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days, or both. Each day's continued violation of any of the requirements of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation.
If any section, clause or provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any persons is adjudged invalid, the adjudication shall not affect other sections, clauses or provisions or the application thereof that can be sustained or given effect without the invalid section, clause or provision or application, and to this end the various sections, clauses or provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.
This chapter shall take effect immediately.