[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Pocono 10-22-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them on this section, unless the context of the chapter clearly indicates otherwise:
Required. No person shall perform blasting within the Township without first obtaining a permit to do so from the Zoning Officer or Building Inspector, unless such work is performed in response to an emergency, under the direction of the Fire Marshal or Code Enforcement Officer.
Applications. A contractor shall apply for a blasting permit to the Zoning Officer or the Building Inspector by tendering payment of the application fee required and by complying with the following:
The contractor shall make application on the form provided by the Township.
The contractor shall submit detailed plans and specifications for all work that requires blasting or the use of explosives.
The contractor shall submit a bond or certificate showing that the contractor is insured for underground blasting and collapse with an insurance company licensed by the commonwealth to adequately compensate for any damage to Township property, public improvements, private property or personal injury. The amount of such bond or certificate shall be not less that $1,000,000 to cover property damage and $1,000,000 to cover bodily injury damage. The contractor shall also submit a certificate of workers' compensation insurance as mandated by the commonwealth. The Township Manager may increase the amount of the bond or certificate if, in his or her judgment, it is necessary to adequately protect the safety of persons or property. The bond or certificate of insurance shall contain a provision that coverages afforded under the policy will not be canceled until at least 15 days' prior written notice of such cancellation has been given to the Township.
The contractor who will be performing the blasting work must present a license for such use issued by the commonwealth when making application for a permit, and the contractor shall have the license available on site for inspection at all times explosives are used or handled.
A list of surrounding property owners within 1,320 feet of the site where blasting is proposed shall be submitted.
The contractor shall fully disclose on the permit application the type and weight of any explosive to be used. If, after the issuance of the permit, the type or weight of an explosive is changed, the contractor shall inform the Zoning Officer or Building Inspector of such change.
The contractor shall submit a report prepared by a professional geologist or engineer licensed to practice in the commonwealth and containing specific recommendations for blasting and certifying that the blast plan will not produce a peak particle velocity greater than allowed by this chapter. The report shall include the amount of charge, firing times, ground velocities, accelerations and displacements, effects on adjacent structures and a field-monitoring program. Should the report indicate potential damage to existing facilities, the Township may disallow all blasting operations.
Application review; preliminary approval. The Zoning Officer or Building Inspector or his or her duly authorized representative shall review the application to ensure compliance with this chapter. The Zoning Officer or Building Inspector shall issue preliminary approval or inform the applicant in writing of the reasons for denial thereof within five working days upon issuance of preliminary approval. The contractor is authorized to proceed with notification and inspection of properties within 1,320 feet. Should the Zoning Officer or the Building Inspector refuse to issue preliminary approval, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Commissioners.
Permit issuance. The contractor shall submit a letter certifying that all applicable property owners were notified and inspections completed. The contractor shall also submit copies of all inspection reports. If all is found to be in order, the Zoning Officer or Building Inspector will issue the permit within five working days.
Revocation. Every permit issued under this chapter is subject to the right, which is hereby expressly reserved, to revoke the same should the contractor violate any of the provisions of this chapter. The permit may be revoked only by the Board of Commissioners after a hearing at a public meeting. The contractor shall be given at least 10 days' notice of such hearing, and at such hearing may call witnesses and present evidence in support of his or her position.
Duration. A permit shall be valid for 90 days from the date of issuance and shall be valid only for the job indicated in the plans and specifications submitted as part of the permit application.
Fee. The fees for blasting permits shall be set by the Board of Commissioners.
The contractor shall provide written notice by regular mail and certified mail return receipt requested on company letterhead to all property owners with 1,320 feet of the blasting area at least 60 days prior to the commencement of blasting. The notification shall advise the property owners that a pre-blast survey will be conducted to inspect, free of charge to the property owner, all structures on the property for structural integrity and the condition of existing wells, including sampling of well water, driveways, culverts, aboveground facilities, subsurface materials, and disposal systems, before blasting commences. The name, address and telephone number of the contractor shall be listed on the notification. The notice must also include the dates blasting will occur and an explanation of how the blast will be preceded by the sounding of a horn. The contractor shall inspect and document the condition of all structures and existing physical features. The inspection must include an assessment of the condition of any existing wells and on-lot sewage disposal systems. As part of this assessment, a sealed sample of well water must be obtained before blasting commences. The sealed sample will be held for a minimum of 30 days after blasting ceases, and it will be used to compare to post-blast water quality should a concern arise as a result of the blasting. Copies of all inspection reports must be submitted to the property owner and Township 48 hours in advance of the blasting.
If a contractor is required to perform blasting work to respond to an emergency, at the direction of the Fire Marshal, Zoning Officer or Building Inspector, he or she is not required to obtain a permit or to give notice to property owners as required by this chapter. All other provisions of this chapter shall be followed.
The contractor shall observe all Township ordinances and state and federal laws and regulations relating to blasting and to the transportation, storage, handling and use of explosives.
All blasting or other blasting operations must be conducted during daylight hours, Monday through Saturday, after 7:00 a.m. and before dusk, except when authorized at other times by the Township Manager. In this instance, only the Manager, and not any designee or other person, may give such authorization.
Contractors using explosives shall at all times have a current explosives license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the work site and permit examination thereof.
Where blasting is permitted, explosives shall be kept on the site only in such quantity as may be needed for the work underway and only during such times as they are being used.
Explosives shall be stored and transported in a secure manner, separate from all tools and flammable substances.
Caps or detonators shall be safely stored at least 100 feet from the explosives.
When the need for explosives has ended, all such explosive materials remaining at the job site shall be promptly removed from the premises. An inventory of all used and unused blasting materials shall be maintained by the blaster and made available upon request.
At the end of the workday, all spent blasting wires shall be removed from blast holes and the surrounding work area.
Each blast shall be designed (as to the number, size, depth and spacing of holes, together with the amount of explosives and stemming) to keep effects such as fly rock, vibrations and noise levels to a minimum.
Each blast shall be designed to ensure that the peak particle velocity does not exceed 0.25 measured at the property line of the nearest existing structure or 0.5 at the boundary of the blasting site, whichever is less.
All operations involving explosives shall be conducted by licensed personnel only, with all possible care taken to avoid injury to persons and damage to property.
Blasting shall be done only with such quantities and strengths of explosives and in such manner as will break the rock approximately to the intended lines and grades and yet will leave the rock which is not to be excavated in an unshattered condition.
Care shall be taken to avoid excessive cracking of the rock upon or against which any structure will be built and to prevent damage to existing pipes or other structures and property above or below ground.
Rock shall be well covered with logs, blasting mats, or both, where required.
Contractors shall give sufficient warning to all persons in the vicinity of the work by sounding a horn twice for a two-second duration, two seconds apart, 180 seconds before a charge is exploded; and again once for a three-second duration, 60 seconds before a charge is exploded. Contractors shall employ persons to stop or direct traffic as required. The horn must be loud enough to be clearly identified 800 feet from the blast.
All blasting effects shall be monitored in the field by an independent professional engineer or geologist experienced in blasting procedures and in monitoring such procedures. Such monitoring shall include, but not be limited to, seismographic and overpressure monitoring. Upon completion of blasting, a report must be submitted to the Zoning Officer or Building Inspector detailing the effect of each blast.
Rock and pipe trenches where blasting is proposed shall be excavated to limits as shown on the plans and specifications submitted with the permit application.
All blasting areas within 300 feet of detonation shall be properly posted. At appropriate distances, the contractor shall post signs warning all persons using the public highways against the use of mobile radio transmitters.
No blasting shall be performed during the period of any threatened electrical storm.
Any person or persons, firm, corporation or utility violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a criminal fine not to exceed $1,000 per violation and imprisonment of such person or persons or members of such copartnership or the officer of such corporation or utility responsible for such violation, to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. Enforcement of any such violation shall be by action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Each excavation or blast in violation of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation.
If a court of competent jurisdiction declares any provisions of this chapter to be invalid in whole or in part, the effect of such decision shall be limited to those provisions expressly stated in the decision to be invalid, and all other provisions of the Zoning Ordinance shall continue to be separately and fully effective.
All provisions of Township ordinances and resolutions or parts thereof that are in conflict with the provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed.
This chapter shall be effective five days after the date of passage.