Educational Material


We have additional educational material on blasting that can be reviewed by contacting our office.

Citizen's Guide to Blasting

This guide is to educate homeowners living in the coalfields of West Virginia of blasting practices and the DMR.

Research Projects

2003 Research Project - Report of Seismic Research

In response to citizens' concerns and a number of blasting non-compliances found at a northern West Virginia surface mone, the Office of Explosives and Blasting (OEB) initiated a research/study project in 2003. These non-compliances violated sections of West Virginia Code 22-3A and Title 199CSR1. These violations included: exceeding the legal peak partical velocity (PPV) at the nearest protected structure (199-1-3.6.i.); failure to follow the approved blasting plan (199-1-3.2.a); and failure to maintain accurate explosives and blasting records (199-1-3.5.a).

Date: December 31, 2003
Conducted by: WVDEP Office of Explosives and Blasting

2004 Research Project - Report of Seismic Research

The Office of Explosives and Blasting (OEB) analyzed ground vibration seismic recordings as a continuation of the 2003 legislative research paper. Site seismic data from 275 blasts over a 2-year period was graphed and compared against various ground vibration predictive models. Graphs and a statistical study show that ground vibration predictive equations can be effective as part of site-specific blast plans if performed properly.

Date: December 31, 2004
Conducted by: West Virginia Department of Enviornmental Protection Office of Explosives and Blasting

2005 Research Project - Report of Ground Vibration and Airblast Compliance Methods Research

The function of this report is not to redefine ground vibration or airblast damage levels but to compare particular compliance methods against other sin the West Virginia coalfields and their ability to measure adverse effects on protected structures. Title 199-1-3.2.c. requires, "The blasting plan shall also contain an inspection and monitoring procedure to insure that all blasting operations are conducted to eliminate, to the maximum extent technically feasible, adverse impacts to the surrounding environment and surrounding occupied dwellings.

Date: December 31, 2005
Conducted by: West Virginia Department of Enviornmental Protection Office of Explosives and Blasting

2006 Research Project - Potential Effects of Surface Mine Blasts Upon Bat Hibernaculum

Comments were made on a surface mine permit application by the NPS and FWS, both federal agencies, to the coal mine permittee in mid-2005, concerning proposed surface mining near old underground mine workings that potentially harbored endangered Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats. This proposed mining would be conducted on property adjacent to the New River Gorge National River Park, where the abandoned mine portals are located.

Date: December 31, 2006
Conducted by: West Virginia Department of Enviornmental Protection Office of Explosives and Blasting

2007 Research Project - Relating Surface Coal Mine Scaled Distances to Deep Mine Roof Peak Particle Velocities

The 2006 Office of Explosives and Blasting (OEB) legislative report discussed surface blasting and the possible effects on bat hibernaculum. One research goal was to determine vibration levels from surface mine blasting on an inaccessible mine roof. Seismograph geophones were bolted to an active underground coal mine roof and separate geophones placed directly above on the surface. The purpose of this research was to determine the differences between surface and underground peak particle velocities (PPV) generated from surface coal mine blasts. It was hypothesized that this information could help estimate an underground roof vibration based upon a surface seismic measurement.

Date: December 31, 2007
Conducted by: West Virginia Department of Enviornmental Protection Office of Explosives and Blasting

2011 Research Project - Predictability of Airblast at Surface Coal Mines in West Virginia

Blasting is used to fragment the rock overlying the coal seams of West Virginia to facilitatesurfacecoal mining. When the explosives are detonated, most of the energy is consumed in rock fragmentation. Unfortunately, energy not used to break rock radiates out from the blast site in the form of ground vibrations and airblast. As this energy reaches residential structures,the homes will vibrate and sometimes the owners file complaints with the OEB.The complaints may be for annoyance or alleged damage to homes.

Conducted by: West Virginia Department of Enviornmental Protection Office of Explosives and Blasting: Jim Ratcliff, Ed Sheehan, Keith Carte

2012 Research Project - The Battelle Study: Air Quality Assessment for Surface Mine Blasting Operation

In February 2012, the state Department of Environmental Protection, in response to coalfield citizens’ concerns regarding air quality near surface mine blasting sitesin West Virginia, commissioned a two-week ambient air quality study in Clear Fork, Raleigh County. It was determined from sampling data that the local air quality was well within applicable health-based standards and there was not any conclusive evidence of impact of blast emissions on air quality in the study area.

Date: February, 2012