Blasting Near Pipelines

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What is the safe limit on ground vibrations that a coated pipe could be subject to? Is there an industry standard that specifies ground vibration limits?

Blasting is not addressed anywhere by AS 2885, nor are we aware of any other relevant Standard, but there is information available elsewhere.

The safe level of vibration can depend on whether it is due to blasting or compaction equipment:

If it is blasting related, Appendix J of AS 2187.2 is very useful and Table J4.5 has guidance on Peak Particle Velocities (PPV).

If it is compaction or tunnelling equipment, the German DIN 4150 can help define acceptable vibrations caused by tunnelling vibration on structures as it relates PPV to a frequency, which also needs to be taken into consideration.

In Australia blasting has been done safely with PPV in the range of 70mm/sec to as high as 100mm/sec adjacent to live gas pipelines of various coatings. However this needs to be supported with an appropriate blast design and is all dependent on separation distances.

Nyman et al (2008) (see below) show that steel pipelines are highly resistant to blasting very close to them. However that considers only the steel itself, and coatings, particularly brittle coatings, may be damaged by much lower levels of vibration.

Useful sources of information include:

  • Oriard, L.L, (1994), Vibration and Ground Rupture Criteria for Buried Pipelines. Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique. International Society of Explosives Engineers
  • Siskind, D.E. and Stagg, M.S., (1993), Response of Pressurized Pipelines to Production-Size Mine Blasting. Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Symposium on Explosives and Blasting Research. International Society of Explosives Engineers

There may also be information available from the International Society of Explosive Engineers