[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Municipality of Murrysville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Geophysical/Seismic Testing
[Adopted 5-4-2011 by Ord. No. 831-11]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ENERGY SOURCE OPERATIONS
- Operations that involve the transmittal of seismic waves to model the geophysical or geophysical properties of the Earth's crust.
It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct any exploration activities within the Municipality of Murrysville regarding oil, gas, and/or other materials by the use of energy source operations, including, without limitation, weight drops, explosives, and/or vibrating machines, thumper trucks or any other vehicles or equipment that causes vibrations, without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Municipality of Murrysville.
Application for a permit hereunder shall be made with the Municipality of Murrysville's Code Enforcement Officer. Such application shall contain the following information:
The name of the applicant;
The address of the applicant;
The type of explosives or other geophysical methods of exploration to be used and the purposes therefor;
A map designating a testing area and showing the location of all points of use and the energy source to be used at each point;
A traffic control plan for any operations or testing that will impede traffic on a public right-of-way;
The applicant's insurance information, including the name of the applicant's insurance carrier, the types and amount of insurance covering its proposed operations, the name and telephone number of an individual to contact in case of a claim for personal injury or property damage, and a copy of the applicant's certificate of insurance naming the municipality as an additional insured; and
Proof of the right or license to handle explosives in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, if explosives are to be used.
A nonrefundable permit fee of $500 for processing the application and preparing the permit shall accompany each such application.
On receipt of such application, the Code Enforcement Officer or his designee shall prepare a report showing all municipal facilities or infrastructure that may be negatively affected by the proposed exploration activity located in the testing area shown in such application. Such report and the application shall then be submitted to the Chief Administrator with the recommendations of the Code Enforcement Officer or his designee.
The term of a permit issued under this article shall be for one year, beginning on the date of approval of the permit by the Chief Administrator, and all energy source operations shall be completed within said term. The applicant shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer or his designee a minimum of three business days in advance of the actual commencement of energy source operations. Once operations have commenced, in the event that the applicant is rendered unable, wholly or in part, by circumstances beyond the applicant's control, to complete operations within the remaining term of the permit, then the time for completion may be extended, at the sole discretion of the Chief Administrator or his designee, for a period of time not to exceed six months, upon written request by the applicant, setting forth full particulars of the circumstances causing the delay which were not within the control of the applicant and which the applicant could not have avoided by the exercise of due diligence and care.
All geophysical operations shall be limited to the areas identified in the application. A copy of such map shall be attached to any permit issued by the Municipality of Murrysville. If, during the course of operations, any utility line must be relocated to maintain compliance with the terms and conditions set forth herein or to ensure the safety of the general population, the applicant shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer or his designee at least three business days prior to embarking on such relocation, which shall be performed in compliance with the Municipality of Murrysville standards.
The applicant shall employ a licensed engineer specializing in blasting or vibration analysis, to be approved by the Municipality of Murrysville, who shall be on the job site during the entire period of testing to mitigate any potential damage to public or private property. The applicant shall also designate a point of contact who will respond within 24 hours to any request from the Chief Administrator or his designee for information regarding the applicant's testing operations, including a request for maps of the testing area that show the points of use as planned by the applicant at the time of the request.
The applicant shall obtain written permission, as required by law, from property owners before entering upon or crossing their property.
The applicant shall be responsible for and shall settle all reasonable and legitimate claims, demands, and causes of action relating to property or persons arising out of or as a result of the applicant's operations under the permit and shall handle all such claims in an expedient manner.
The applicant shall notify each owner of property, in writing, by United States mail to or personal delivery at the property, located within 250 feet of its planned energy source operations a minimum of 10 working days prior to the conducting of any test or as required by law if a greater distance is specified. Said notice will include the anticipated start date of energy source operations and the energy source planned to be used. The applicant will offer to provide and will provide, if requested, to such owner, in writing, the insurance information required by § 161-3 to be included in its application.
The applicant shall notify each owner of property, in writing, by United States mail to or personal delivery at the property, located within 250 feet of charge tests or 125 feet of vibroseis or weight-drop tests, a minimum of 10 working days prior to the conducting of any test, of the availability at no cost to the property owner of pre- and post-test inspections of all structures located on or under said property, including appropriate testing for water wells. The applicant shall perform the offered inspections if requested by the property owner before commencing any testing and shall provide a copy of the test results to the property owner. The applicant shall maintain records of such inspections for a period of two years and shall make such records available upon request by the Municipality of Murrysville.
The applicant shall place newspaper advertisements in the newspaper of record in the Municipality of Murrysville of not less than 3 x 4 inches explaining the work to be performed, the location of the proposed work, and a toll-free telephone number where residents may call for more information. Said advertisements shall be placed in all publication days during the two-week period prior to the issuance of the permit and again during the two-week period immediately before actual operations commence in the testing area. The toll-free telephone number provided by the applicant shall be answered during hours of operation as set forth in § 161-5 while work is ongoing in the Municipality of Murrysville, and an answering machine shall be installed to receive after-hour calls.
The applicant shall engineer all source locations (explosive charge size and depth, and vibrator source seep frequency and drive levels or other geophysical sources) so that no structure, subject to limitations contained in § 161-10D herein, shall be subject to any peak particle velocity greater than 0.6 inch per second.
Using industry standard equipment and techniques, the licensed engineer required by § 161-5 shall monitor and record, during operations, all pertinent locations to ensure compliance with the maximum peak particle velocity established by Subsection A. If the peak particle velocity for any test exceeds said maximum, the engineer shall notify the Chief Administrator or his designee and cease all operations until corrections are made. The applicant shall maintain all documentation of monitoring activities for a period of at least two years and make said documentation available upon request for inspection by the Municipality of Murrysville.
The applicant shall obtain location maps for all water wells, underground hazardous waste storage/disposal sites, and water, sewer, oil, gas, and chemical pipelines located in the testing area and conduct all energy source operations in a manner so as to not damage, interrupt, or otherwise interfere with said structures. Information obtained by the applicant shall be used by the surveying teams and operations manager to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of this permit and that safe operating distances are maintained. If requested by the applicant, the Municipality of Murrysville shall make available for inspection and copying, maps, if any, prepared by or on the applicant's reliance on any information furnished by the Municipality of Murrysville, its agents, representatives, and employees, whether written or verbal, shall be at the sole risk of the applicant, and the following disclaimer shall be placed on and shall apply to any and all such information:
All Municipality of Murrysville owned structures and other owned structures, including but not limited to susceptible underground utilities (water mains, sewer mains, etc.) shall have pre- and post-testing inspections paid for by the applicant if they may be subjected to a peak particle velocity greater than 0.035 inch per second. The Municipality of Murrysville shall have the option of receiving reimbursement of its actual cost of performing said inspection or having the inspection done by a third-party firm hired by the applicant. Any reimbursement provided by this section shall be paid to the Municipality of Murrysville within 30 days following the applicant's receipt of an invoice from the Municipality of Murrysville.
Energy source testing may be conducted from 8:00 a.m. until the earlier of sunset or 7:00 p.m., local time, on Mondays through Fridays, and from 9:00 a.m. until the earlier of sunset or 7:00 p.m., local time, on Saturdays. Testing shall not be permitted on Sundays.
The applicant shall restore, at its own cost, Municipality of Murrysville owned lands or rights-of-way used in its operations to the original condition just prior to the testing operations, free of damage, including ruts or any injury to landscaping.
The applicant shall ensure that its operations will not interfere with the free and safe flow of traffic. When operations are immediately adjacent to the pavement, all equipment shall be parked and/or operated in one lane of traffic. The applicant shall adhere to all applicable PennDOT traffic standards.
The applicant shall notify the Chief Administrator or his/her designee of any equipment to be operated on Municipality of Murrysville streets that will exceed a maximum load limit of 20,000 pounds and obtain any special permitting required.
Cables placed on the pavement within rights-of-way must be arranged so they do not create a hazardous condition or rumble strip effect. All cables must be securely anchored to the roadway with materials that will not damage and/or puncture the pavement. Nails, spikes, and similar materials used for anchors shall not be placed inside the pavement edge.
Each testing crew performing work that impedes the flow of traffic shall furnish at its cost adequate signs, barricades, flares, flagmen, etc., as necessary, to protect the traveling public.
The applicant shall furnish to the Municipality of Murrysville's Chief Administrator, or designee, a schedule of each week's test plans. The Municipal Engineer shall inspect the road before and after testing. The applicant shall pay any and all costs incurred by the Municipality of Murrysville as a result of these inspections.
All vibroseis or weight-drop operations shall be conducted a minimum distance of 150 feet from any building, which shall mean a structure built for the support, shelter, or enclosure of persons, chattel, or movable property of any kind and which is affixed to the land. No charge test shall be detonated within 300 feet of any building, water well or underground hazardous waste storage/disposal site. The applicant will provide multiple monitoring of any charge testing within 600 feet of any occupied building.
The applicant shall maintain and make available, upon request, to the Municipality of Murrysville, for a period of two years, the daily log of energy source tests, showing date, location, energy source used, drive level, operator, and all other related information, including seismic and pre- and post-test survey.
No energy source operation shall subject any building intended for human habitation, utility line, water well, or underground hazardous waste storage/disposal site to a peak particle velocity greater than 0.5 inch per second.
Explosives shall be transported in constantly attended Type 3 magazines as defined by Section 1902.4.7 of the 1994 Standard Fire Prevention Code. All vehicles transporting explosives will be placarded according to Regulation of Hazardous Materials, 49 CFR. Only the necessary amount of explosives for each day's operations, during such period as the permit is in effect, shall be transported within the Municipality of Murrysville at any given time. No explosives shall be stored within the corporate limits, unless approved by the Municipality's Fire District Fire Chief. If such storage is approved, explosives must be stored in a locked and secure, constantly attended Type 2 magazine, as defined by Section 1902.4.6 of the 1994 Standard Fire Prevention Code, at a single, isolated, and sparsely populated location.
The applicant shall notify the Chief Administrator, or designee, within 24 hours after the occurrence of any violation of these permit requirements.
The applicant shall submit to the Municipality of Murrysville a performance bond in the amount of $250,000 from a surety authorized to do business in Pennsylvania. The performance bond shall be valid for a period of two years from the date that the permit is issued. The bond shall provide, but not be limited to, the following condition: "There shall be recoverable by the Municipality of Murrysville, jointly and severally from the principal and surety, any and all damages, loss or costs suffered by the Municipality in connection with the applicant's geophysical operations within the Municipality." The bond shall contain the following endorsement: "It is hereby understood and agreed that this bond may not be canceled by the surety company until 60 days after receipt by the Municipality of Murrysville, by registered mail or written notice, of such intent to cancel or not to renew." The rights reserved to the Municipality of Murrysville with respect to the bond are in addition to all other rights of the Municipality of Murrysville, and no action, proceeding or exercise of a right with respect to such bond shall affect any other rights of the Municipality of Murrysville.
Prior to conducting any operations hereunder, the applicant and/or its contractors shall furnish a certificate of insurance to the Municipality of Murrysville showing the Municipality as an additional insured with respect to operations conducted within the Municipality of Murrysville and showing liability insurance coverage covering commercial, personal injury, and general liability in amounts not less than $1,000,000 property damage.
The applicant shall protect, indemnify, defend and hold the Municipality of Murrysville, its officers, employees, agents, and representatives harmless from and against all claims, demands, and causes of action of every kind and character for injury to, or death of, any person or persons, damages, liabilities, losses, and/or expenses, occurring or in any way incident to, arising out of, or in connection with its or its contractors', agents', or representatives' operations under this permit, including attorneys' fees, and any other costs and expenses incurred by the Municipality of Murrysville in defending against any such claims, demands, and causes of action. Within 30 days of receipt of same, the applicant shall notify the Municipality of Murrysville, in writing, of each claim for injuries to, or death to, persons or damages or losses to property occurring or in any way incident to, arising out of, or in connection with its or its contractors', agents' or representatives' operations conducted under this permit. At the Municipality of Murrysville's discretion, the Municipality may conduct an independent investigation, monitor, and review the processing of any such claim to ensure that such claim is handled as required herein.
Any permit granted hereunder may be revoked upon breach of any term or condition contained herein.
Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, any permit granted hereunder shall not be effective unless and until a copy of the permit, signed by an authorized officer of the applicant, the performance bond, and the certificates of insurance have been filed with the Chief Administrator.
A person who knowingly violates any provision of this article shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined in an amount not to exceed $2,000. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.