Township of Lower Gwynedd, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
 
GENERAL REFERENCES
Excavation permit fees — See Section 208.04(d).
Excavations in flood plain districts — See Section 1240.08.
Topsoil removal — See Ch. 1474.

§ 1464.01 Short title.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as "the Excavation Ordinance."

§ 1464.02 Purposes.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
The purposes of this chapter are to alert the Township and affected residents of the location and time of excavation work to be performed within the Township and to protect the health, safety and welfare of such residents by requiring contractors to submit detailed plans and specifications of any blasting, to notify nearby residents of such blasting and to protect nearby property and structures through pre-blasting inspections.

§ 1464.03 Definitions.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
As used in this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise:
(a) 
"Blasting" means the use of any explosives for purposes of excavation.
(b) 
"Contractor" means any person who undertakes or offers to perform excavation work within the Township, whether as a general contractor, subcontractor or specialty contractor and whether such excavation work is that person's primary work or incidental to such work.
(c) 
"Emergency" means an unforeseen combination of circumstances requiring repairs or maintenance to eliminate or reduce an imminent threat to life, health, safety or property.
(d) 
"Excavation" means all digging to a depth of two feet or more, except digging in the construction of residences or swimming pools where blasting is not required.
(e) 
"Improved surface" means any surface used on a regular basis for vehicular or pedestrian traffic, including roadways, sidewalks, parking areas, driveways and shoulder areas, whether dedicated or undedicated.
(f) 
"Notice" means any notice required by this chapter and given either by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal delivery with a signed receipt of the person to whom such personal delivery is made.
(g) 
"Person" means any individual, partnership, limited partnership, association, corporation, trust or other legally recognizable entity.
(h) 
"Property owner" means the record owner of property within the Township and any tenant or occupant thereof.
(i) 
"Rock" means boulders and pieces of concrete or masonry exceeding one-third cubic yard in volume or solid ledge rock which requires for its removal drilling and blasting, wedging, sledging or breaking-up with power-operated tools.
(j) 
"Township Manager" means the duly appointed Township Manager or a designee appointed by the Manager or by the Board of Supervisors.

§ 1464.04 Compliance with chapter required.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
No person shall act as a contractor in the Township except in compliance with this chapter. No person, including a property owner, shall willfully aid a contractor or participate with a contractor in the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter. The provisions of this chapter may not be waived by agreement.

§ 1464.05 Permits.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
(a) 
Required. No person shall perform excavation work within the Township without first obtaining a permit to do so from the Township Manager, unless such excavation is performed in response to an emergency.
(b) 
Applications. A contractor shall apply for an excavation permit to the Township Manager by tendering payment of the application fee required by subsection (f) hereof and by complying with the following:
(1) 
The contractor shall submit detailed plans and specifications for all excavation work.
(2) 
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 than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to cover property damage and five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to cover personal 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 fifteen days prior written notice of such cancellation has been given to the Township.
No such bond or certificate of insurance shall be required, however, where either of the following is true:
A. 
The work is to be performed by a corporation subject to the supervision of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
B. 
The work is to be performed by the owner himself or herself on his or her own property, does not involve the breaking of an improved surface and is to be completed within three working days.
(3) 
If the use of explosives is anticipated, the contractor 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.
When explosives are needed, 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 Township Manager of such change.
(c) 
Application Review; Permit Issuance. The Manager or his or her duly authorized representative shall review the application to ensure compliance with this chapter. The Manager shall issue a permit or inform the applicant in writing of the reasons for denial thereof within five working days. Should the Manager refuse to issue a permit, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Supervisors.
(d) 
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 Supervisors after a hearing at a public meeting. The contractor shall be given at least ten days notice of such hearing, and at such hearing may call witnesses and present evidence in support of his or her position.
(e) 
Duration. A permit shall be valid for ninety 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.
(f) 
Fee. Fees for excavation permits are as specified in Section 208.04(d) of the Administration Code.

§ 1464.06 Notification to the public; inspections of adjacent property.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
(a) 
One week prior to the commencement of nonemergency excavation work, the contractor shall provide notice to adjoining property owners advising such owners of the construction to be accomplished and where such construction will occur.
(b) 
If explosives are to be used in the excavation, the contractor shall provide notice to all property owners within 400 feet of the blasting at least one week prior to the commencement of blasting. The notification shall include an offer to inspect, free of charge to the property owner, all structures on the property for structural integrity. The name, address and telephone number of the contractor shall be listed on the notification. The notice shall include a card to enable the property owner to notify the contractor of a request for an inspection. All property owners requesting inspections in writing at least forty-eight hours prior to any excavation work shall have their property inspected within a reasonable time prior to the commencement of the excavation. The contractor shall then inspect all structures and existing physical features.

§ 1464.07 Emergency excavations.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
(a) 
If a contractor is required to perform excavation work to respond to an emergency, he or she is not required to obtain a permit or to give notice to property owners as required by Sections 1464.05 and 1464.06.
(b) 
If a contractor performs excavation work in response to an emergency, he or she shall notify the Township Manager within two business days of performing the work or before refilling the excavation, whichever is earlier.

§ 1464.08 Rules and regulations re use of explosives.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
(a) 
The contractor shall observe all Township ordinances and State and Federal laws and regulations relating to excavation and to the transportation, storage, handling and use of explosives.
(b) 
All excavation, blasting or blasting operations must be conducted during daylight hours 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.
(c) 
A licensed blaster shall at all times have his or her license on the work site and shall permit examination thereof.
(d) 
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.
(e) 
Explosives shall be stored in a secure manner, separate from all tools and flammable substances.
(f) 
Caps or detonators shall be safely stored at least 100 feet from the explosives.
(g) 
When the need for explosives has ended, all such explosive materials remaining at the job site shall be promptly removed from the premises.
(h) 
At the end of the work day, all spent blasting wires shall be removed from blast holes and the surrounding work area.
(i) 
Before any blasting is carried out, the contractor shall submit to the Township Manager a report prepared by a professional geologist or engineer licensed to practice in the Commonwealth and containing specific recommendations for blasting. 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.
(j) 
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 flyrock, vibrations and noise levels to a minimum.
(k) 
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.
(l) 
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.
(m) 
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.
(n) 
Rock shall be well covered with logs, blasting mats, or both, where required.
(o) 
Contractors shall give sufficient warning to all persons in the vicinity of the work before a charge is exploded. Contractors shall employ persons to stop or direct traffic as required.
(p) 
All blasting effects shall be monitored in the field by a professional engineer or geologist experienced in blasting procedures and in monitoring such procedures. Such monitoring shall include, but not be limited to, seismographic and air overpressure monitoring.
(q) 
Rock and pipe trenches shall be excavated to limits as shown on the plans and specifications submitted with the permit application.
(r) 
All blasting areas within 100 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.
(s) 
No blasting shall be performed during the period of any threatened electrical storm.

§ 1464.09 Interpretation.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding pending in any court, any right acquired or liability incurred, any permit issued, or any cause of action existing under the laws of the Township, nor shall any just or legal right, remedy or restriction of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this chapter.

§ 1464.99 Penalty.

[Ord. 215. Passed 3-19-1985]
Each excavation or blast in violation of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation. The fine or penalty imposed under Section 1420.99 shall be in addition to any other penalty or remedy provided for in this chapter.