CO Migration From Trench Blasting In Amherst, New York
Description:The New York State Department of Transportation recently commenced highway widening and drainage improvement projects in Clarence and Amherst, NY. Drainage improvements including the installation of storm sewer lines required excavation to a depth of 2.5 m (8.2 ft). In September 2002, NYSDOT stopped further blasting when 800 ppm CO was detected in the basement of a house near the blasting site. At the insistence of NYSDOT, the general contractor developed a new blast plan with the assistance of an environmental consultant. The plan provided for the installation of multi-gas monitors in buildings of special concern and/or with basements and residential type CO monitors in all other buildings within 100m (330 ft) of the blast. The multi-gas monitors would be remotely monitored. The plan provided action levels which would ensure public safety. The blast design was also modified to allow for better venting of CO. Blasts were limited to 20 ft lengths. The overburden was to be removed from the rock and blasting mats put in place to prevent flyrock. Approximately twenty feet of trench adjacent to the blast was left open to allow ground movement and gas release. The use of CO monitors was effective to alert occupants of a building to the presence of CO. The most effective appeared to be the residential type CO alarms with digital readouts. They were simple and easy to use and allowed the public to participate in the process. False alarms were repeatedly received with the more sophisticated instrumentation. Residential type CO monitors are preferable to warn people near blast sites. More sophisticated instrumentation should be avoided unless personnel are experienced in its use. A general overview of the blasting and monitoring is presented and discussed. The use and effectiveness of residential type CO monitors and multi-gas monitors are discussed.
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