The mining industry and regulatory agencies have requested guidance on blasting near buried transmission pipelines and safe vibration levels. The U.S. Bureau of Mines and the State of Indiana cooperated with AMAX Coal Company and its consultants to determine the effects of coal mine overburden blasting on nearby pipelines. Five pressurized 76-m pipeline sections were installed on the Minnehaha Mine highwall near Sullivan, IN for testing to failure. Four 17- to 51-cm diameter welded steel pipes and one 20-cm PVC water pipe were monitored for vibration, strain, and pressure for a period of 6 months while production blasting advanced up to the pipeline field. In contrast to previous studies of small-scale close-in blasting for construction, these tests involved overburden blasts of up to 950 kg per delay in 31-cm blast-holes. Analyses found low responses, strains, and calculated stresses from even large blasts. Ground vibrations of 120-250 mm/s produced worst case strains of about 25 pct of those resulting from pipeline operations and calculated stresses of only about 10-18 pct of the ultimate tensile strength.
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