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(1) Whenever the department notifies the operator that it has received a credible complaint pursuant to ARM 17.24.157 concerning a use of explosives, the operator shall make available to the department, within 15 days of receipt of a written request, such information as the department may request, including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) identification of persons conducting blasting activities and their level of training and experience;

(b) preblasting survey information, if available;

(c) blasting schedule and records identifying as accurately as possible location of the blasting sites and timing of blasts; and

(d) seismograph measurements, if available.

(2) The operator shall make available for interviewing by the department and its consultants all persons involved in the blasting operations.

(3) (a) After the department conducts its preliminary investigation by reviewing the records supplied by the operator using explosives and performs its own appropriate tests, if needed, the department shall do one or more of the following:

(i) if the department's preliminary investigation has determined that property damage or a safety hazard could not have occurred from blasting activities, the department shall give written notification of its findings to all concerned parties;

(ii) if, after its preliminary investigation, the department cannot determine whether property damage or a safety hazard may have occurred as the result of blasting, or if it appears damage or a safety hazard has occurred as the result of blasting, the department shall perform one or more of the following:

(A) continue to conduct its own tests;

(B) conduct additional investigations, including, but not limited to, geologic structure, frequency, and delay sequencing; or

(C) hire a third party consultant to conduct a survey of the blasting operation and, if necessary, structures.

(b) A survey prepared under (a) (ii) (C) must be conducted by a recognized expert on the forces created by blasting and must document the condition of the structure, any blasting damage, any causes for the damage other than blasting, and whether blasting by the operator exceeded the standards contained in ARM 17.24.159(2) (f) (i) , (2) (k) (i) and (2) (o) (iii) . Assessments of structures such as pipes, cables, transmission lines, and wells and other water systems must be limited to surface condition and readily available data. Special attention must be given to the condition of wells and other water systems used for human, animal, or agricultural purposes and to the quantity and quality of the water.

(c) The recognized expert must submit the expert's qualifications to the department for review. At a minimum, the expert must:

(i) have field experience covering at least five previous blasting-related projects; and

(ii) provide a brief summary of the number and type of preblast and postblast investigations along with any conclusions or recommendations resulting from those investigations.

(d) The department shall require that a written report of the survey be prepared and signed by the person who conducted the survey. If the report finds that the standards were exceeded or that the blasting caused damage or safety hazard, the report must include recommendations of any special conditions or proposed adjustments to the blasting procedure that should be incorporated into the blasting plan to prevent damage or hazard. The department shall provide a copy of the report to the complainant and the operator.

(4) (a) If the third party investigation demonstrates that the operator exceeded the standards contained in ARM 17.24.159(2) (f) (i) , (2) (k) (i) or (2) (o) (iii) , or that the damages or a hazard resulted from blasting by the operator, the operator shall reimburse the department for all reasonable fees and expenses it has paid to the third-party consultant.

(b) The operator may file a response, including proposed mitigation measures, to the written report submitted pursuant to (3) (d) within 15 days from receipt of the report.

(c) The department shall respond to the operator in a timely manner with directives and fees for all reasonable expenses incurred in the third-party investigations.

History: 82-4-321, MCA; IMP, 82-4-356, MCA; NEW, 1990 MAR p. 1470, Eff. 7/27/90; TRANS, from DSL, 1996 MAR p. 2852; AMD, 2000 MAR p. 473, Eff. 2/11/00.

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