SANATOGA PA – Explosive blasting of rock, found not far below the surface of the vacant Bleim Road field where the first of three phases (at top) of construction for housing at the Spring Valley Farms subdivision is under way, began Monday (Sept. 18) and is expected to continue daily – sometime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. – through tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 22), Lower Pottsgrove Township Manager Ed Wagner acknowledged.
The blasting, performed by contractor and engineering firm American Rock Mechanics of Zionsville PA, had been scheduled to start last week. It was delayed when Wagner told the company he lacked paperwork and other specifics required under township Ordinance 335, approved by the Board of Commissioners during July. The firm produced all necessary documents and proofs during a Sept. 11 meeting, he added.
The law requires that property owners within 500 feet of a blast area receive a free pre-blast survey of their building foundations and other conditions, available as evidence in case they later contend the explosions created damage. Only two properties qualified for those surveys during this Phase 1 blasting, which is being conducted on the west side of the subdivision at 1934 Bleim Rd., Wagner said.
Several dozen owners whose properties lie outside the 500-foot perimeter but within a quarter-mile of the zone were notified by letter that blasting would occur, Wagner added. The bulk of those letters were delivered by hand to affected properties on Sept. 6 and 7, but some residents told The Post they received a second letter at later dates.
A township Facebook post announcing blasting would start Monday caused consternation among some of its readers who believed they qualified immediately for pre-blast surveys. Wagner corrected that misconception during a Wednesday phone interview. Other properties may later qualify, he said, when they are found to be within the 500-foot boundary of blasting to be conducted for Phases 2 and 3.
Phase 2 of the project is located near the corner of Bleim and North Pleasant View Roads. Phase 3 is located farther south and parallels North Pleasant View Road. No specific dates for their starts have been set, and the progress of that work depends primarily on housing sales in Phase 1, Brennan Marion said earlier.
Most of the blasts are occurring between noon and 12:15 p.m., according to Wagner, usually with a township representative on site at the time. The first blast was apparently strong; one worker of a local employer said he felt its reverberations in a property on Buchert Road. Other property owners have reported they felt nothing.
Township commissioners meeting tonight
Lower Pottsgrove commissioners are scheduled to hold their second official meeting of the month tonight (Thursday, Sept. 21) beginning at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd. The meeting is free to attend and open to the public. An agenda for the session was not available from the township website as of 6 a.m. If one is posted, it usually can be found here.
Full Disclosure: Joe Zlomek, managing editor of The Post Publications, and his wife Debra own a primary residence on North Sanatoga Road within what would be considered a neighborhood adjacent to the blasting area.
Drawing provided by Lower Pottsgrove Township