Public Perception of Blasting at Rock Quarries in Expanding Urban Environments -- St. Charles County, MO


Differences exist between public perception of construction blasting and quarry blasting. In general, people are able to tolerate short term inconveniences much better than long term ones. The paper focuses on the public perception of quarry blasting in St. Charles County, MO. This expanding urban environment has seen new legislation targeting preexisting quarry operations that have been in place for many years. A survey was made comprising interviews conducted to gauge perceptions of persons with varying demographics. Interviews covered topics involved with quarry blasting and its reporting methods. The purpose of the interviews was to determine public perception of blasting and how best to report results of vibration measurements. The use of different, less technically complicated measurement scales for vibration and airblast was considered as an alternative reporting system. The question for the industry is, “Has our past haste in adopting complex scientific scales and units been detrimental to us?” In other words, are we reporting the correct things? For airblast, the decibel scale was evaluated against millibar in the public eye. Peak Particle Velocity was also compared to that for displacement. Current legislation in the county is based on complaint levels rather than damage criteria. The complaints most likely not only come from ignorance to the affects of blasting on structures, but also sparse understanding of the units used to report these affects. The past practice of treading softly as an industry has been proven to be a poor choice, and education of the public as well as lawmakers on all levels is necessary. The Mississippi Valley Chapter of ISEE has begun to conduct seminars to this end. One educational seminar has taken place for officials and lawmakers in the St. Louis area, and others are in the planning stages. The focus of this paper is to gauge perception of the damage criteria reported today, and locate focal points for future education of the public in rapidly expanding suburban environments.

Meeting Name

31st Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique (2005: Feb. 6-9, Orlando, FL)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Blasting and Laws; Blasting and Public Relations; Surveying of Populations

Geographic Coverage

St. Charles County, Missouri

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2005 International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

09 Feb 2005

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