Senate Bill No. 255

(By Senators Miller, Sharpe, Ross and Helmick)


[Originating in the Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining;

reported February 5, 1996.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section eleven, article four, chapter twenty-two of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to surface mining and reclamation of minerals other than coal; blasting restrictions; formula; filing preplan; penalties; notice; and permitting seismograph measurement to be used in place of scaled-distance formulas.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section eleven, article four, chapter twenty-two of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:


§22-4-11. Blasting restriction; formula; filing preplan; penalties; notice.

Where blasting of overburden or mineral is necessary, such the blasting shall be done in accordance with established principles for preventing vibration injury to persons and damage to residences, buildings and communities. Such The blasting is in compliance with provisions of this article if the following measures are followed adhered to:
(1) The weight in pounds of explosive explosives charge to be detonated at any in any eight millisecond period without seismic monitoring shall conform to the following:
FormulaDistance in feet from the blasting site to the
nearest residence, building or structure
W=(D/50)20 - 300 feet
W=(D/55)2301 - 5,000 feet
W=(D/65)25,001 feet or greater
W=Weight of explosives in pounds
D=Distance to the nearest structure
one time shall conform with the following scaled distance formula: W = (D/50)(to the second power). Where W equals weight in pounds of explosives detonated at any one instant time, then D equals distance in feet from nearest point of blast to nearest residence, building, or structure, other than operation facilities of the mine: Provided, That explosive charges shall be considered to be detonated at one time if their detonation occurs within eight milliseconds or less of each other:
Provided, That the scaled distance formulas need not be used if a seismograph measurement at the nearest protected structure (residence, building or structure) is recorded and maintained for every blast. The peak particle velocity in inches per second in any one of the three mutually perpendicular directions shall not exceed the following values at any protected structure:
Seismograph Measurement Distance to the Nearest
Protected Structure

1.25 0 - 300 feet
1.00 301 - 5,000 feet
0.75 5,001 feet or greater
The director may require a seismograph recording of any blast based on the physical conditions of the site in order to prevent injury to persons or damage to property. The maximum allowable ground vibration as provided in this section shall be reduced by the director, if determined necessary to provide damage protection. The maximum ground vibration standards do not apply at the following locations: (A) Structures owned by the permittee and not leased to another person; and (B) structures owned by the permittee and leased to another person, if a written waiver by the lessee is submitted to the director before blasting.
(2) Where blast sizes would exceed the limits under subdivision (1) of this section, blasts shall be detonated by the use of delay detonators (either electric or nonelectric) to provide detonation times separated by nine milliseconds or more for each section of the blast complying with the scaled distance of the formula.
(2) Airblast shall not exceed the maximum limits listed below at the location of any dwelling, public buildings, school or community or institutional building outside the permit area:
Lower frequency limit of measuring
system in Hz(+3dB)Maximum level in db

1Hz or lower-flat response*134 peak
2Hz or lower-flat response133 peak
6Hz or lower-flat response129 peak
c-weighted-slow response*105 peak dBC
* only when approved by the director.
If necessary to prevent damage, the director may specify lower maximum airblast levels for use in the vicinity of a specific blasting operation.
(3) Flyrock, including blasted material, shall not be cast from the blasting site more than halfway to the nearest dwelling or other occupied structure, beyond the area of control specified in the next subdivision of this section or in no case beyond the bounds of the permit area.
(4) Access to the blast area shall be controlled against the entrance of livestock or unauthorized personnel during blasting for a period thereafter until an authorized person has reasonably determined that:
(a) No unusual circumstances exist such as imminent slides or undetonated charges, etc.; and
(b) Access to and travel in or through the area can be safely resumed.
(3) (5) A plan of each operation's methods for compliance with this section (blast delay design) for typical blasts which shall be adhered to in all blasting at each operation, shall be submitted to the department of energy division of environmental protection with the application for a permit. It shall be accepted if it meets the scaled distance formula established in subdivision (1) of this section.
(4) (6) Records of each blast shall be kept in a log to be maintained for at least three years, which will show for each blast other than secondary (boulder-breaking) blasts the following information:
(a) Date and time of blast;
(b) Number of holes;
(c) Typical explosive weight per delay period;
(d) Total explosives in blast at any one time;
(e) Number of delays used;
(f) Weather conditions; and
(g) Signature of operator employee in charge of the blast;
(h) Seismograph data; and
(i) Date of seismograph calibration.
(5) (7) Where inspection by the department of energy division of environmental protection establishes that the scaled distance formula or the seismograph results and or the approved preplan are not being adhered to, the following penalties shall be imposed:
(a) For the first offense in any one permit year under this section, the permit holder shall be assessed not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars;
(b) For the second offense in any one permit year under this section, the permit holder shall be assessed not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars;
(c) For the third offense in any one permit year under this section or for the failure to pay any assessment hereinabove set forth within a reasonable time established by the commissioner, the permit shall be revoked.
All such assessments as set forth in this section shall be assessed by the director, collected by him the director and deposited with the treasurer of the state of West Virginia, to the credit of the operating permit fees fund.
The director shall promulgate rules a which shall provide for a warning of impending blasting to the owners, residents or other persons who may be present on property adjacent to the blasting area.


(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit seismograph measurement to be used in place of scaled distance formulas. Standards for blasting are provided.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.)