A Proactive Approach to Limit Potential Impacts from Blasting to Drinking Water Supply Wells, Windham, New Hampshire

A well designed and implemented blasting plan provides the best chance of reducing groundwater impacts from blasting. The adherence and monitoring of the implementation of the blasting plan is also vital. Properly selected blasting products for the site conditions are vital to minimize groundwater impacts. Packaged explosives reduce potential spills and minimize exposure of explosive products to groundwater. A solid understanding of the hydrogeologic model is also crucial to develop an effective sentinel well network that can provide warning of potential impacts from blasting (water quality and quantity). The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) is widening and improving Interstate 93 (I-93) from Salem to Manchester. This project includes reconfiguration of Exit 3 in Windham to improve safety and traffic flow. The Exit 3 reconfiguration requires blasting to remove about two million cubic yards of bedrock over a seven year period. Blasting for rock removal at recent private developments and municipal construction projects in Windham has allegedly caused environmental impacts to residential drinking water wells. As a result the NHDOT has implemented a proactive approach to limit potential impacts from blasting for the Exit 3 project. As part of this approach, NHDOT conducted a drinking water baseline monitoring program in May and June 2008 to measure background and pre-blasting groundwater and surface water conditions prior to the initiation of blasting activities in December 2008. Part of the monitoring program included development of a conceptual hydrogeologic model of the project area to locate new monitoring wells. Key portions of NHDOT's proactive approach to reducing potential environmental impacts from blasting include implementation of best management practices (BMPs) for the handling, use, and detonation of explosive materials; and implementation of an ambitious biweekly groundwater monitoring program to detect potential impacts prior to reaching drinking water resources. This paper presents the preliminary findings from this ongoing program intended to protect the environment and the public. An overview of the programmatic implementation, day-to-day and corrective action BMPs, and groundwater monitoring results are included.

  • Corporate Authors:

    New York State Thruway Authority

    200 Southern Boulevard, P.O. Box 189
    Albany, NY  United States  12201-0189
  • Authors:
    • Pelham, Krystle
    • Lane, Dick
    • Smerekanicz, Jay R
    • Miller, William J
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2009


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 201-217
  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the 60th Highway Geology Symposium

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01142310
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 20 2009 6:44PM