Unfortunately, these regulations that set by the provincial government. The city does not have a blasting bylaw. The city will use standard construction specifications for blasting operations, incorporating them into city contracts and development agreements when developers are performing blasting as part of a construction project, but these specifications reflect the Ontario Provincial Standards.
The city monitors blasts according to provincial regulations, but cannot impose stricter regulations than the province.
Because this is a provincial matter, we are in contact with our MPP Joel Harden to seek remedies at the provincial level.
When you are concerned about the intensity of the blasting, and worried about potential damage to your home and possessions, city staff ask that report these blasts through Service Ottawa, as staff have an established knowledge-based article (KBA) that the Service Ottawa representatives use to direct your concerns to the appropriate group within the city.
You can contact Service Ottawa by emailing [email protected], calling 3-1-1 or filing a report through the city website at ottawa.ca/en/3-1-1/report-or-request.
When submit a report through Service Ottawa, an inspector will contact you and provide information about the blasting activity. They will also follow up with the blasting consultant that is overseeing the blasting. If there is reported damage, the blasting consultant will investigate and confirm vibration levels to determine if the damage is related to blasting.
If you experience damage and you are not happy with the service provided by the city or the blasting consultant, you can file a legal claim. You can visit /ottawa.ca/en/3-1-1/report-or-request/claims-city for the process on filing a claim.
You are also welcome to include our office ([email protected]) and MPP Harden’s office ([email protected]) in these submissions.
General information on blasting in construction projects can be found on the city's website.
Fadi Bou Sleiman, Project Manager
MPP Joel Harden
Development Inspector, Sylvie Lambert
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the blasting schedule at this site?
Blasting started in early September and will be occurring for a period of approximately five (5) months. Blasting will be conducted Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm with up to ten (10) blasts occurring per day.
Will the blasting continue over the upcoming holiday period?
Blasting will not occur on the morning of Remembrance Day, nor is it planned at this time for the period of December 23 to January 3.
How will I know if the blasts will be occurring?
Prior to each blast, the blast site will be cleared of all persons and the site will be secured. This will be followed by a series of warning whistles that will be sounded primarily to alert all construction workers of an imminent blast. Five short whistles will indicate one minute to the blast. Three short whistles will then indicate that a blast is imminent. Once the blast has been completed and the site is all clear, one long whistle will be sounded. A few residents have noted that the signals have been more faint in the past week. The same whistle is being used, however as excavation moves further below the level of the surface, the whistle, combined with the prevailing winds of the day, may be heard more faintly in the distance. This is covered under the Ministry of Labour legislation for work safety.
How can you guarantee that my property will not be damaged by the blasting at this site?
The blasting company will be following a strict set of specifications outlined by the City of Ottawa. These regulations place limits on vibrations in order to protect nearby structures and are monitored. All blasts are designed to meet regulatory limits and are monitored by an independent monitoring company to ensure compliance to these limits.
I live very close to the blasting site. I am very concerned about potential damages to my property because I am so close to the blasting.
Explosives are commonly used in very close proximity to other structures. For example, blasting is done to create swimming pools next to existing homes, utilities are installed beside roads and buildings, and foundations are built. It is the level of vibration that creates damages to structures, not the distance from the building. Regulations have been designed to ensure that vibration levels are lowered the closer the blast is to the existing structure.
What is the seismograph near the project site measuring?
Seismographs measure exterior ground vibration levels which take into account the building's response to vibration. They measure vibration from any source including the blasting. The blasting however has a very specific signature and is easily distinguished from disruptions. The measurements on the exterior allows for consistency and permits comparison of the measurements after every blast. Please see the attached map to show where seismographs have been installed.
My neighbour has a seismograph at his house. Why don't I have one?
Seismographs are strategically placed by the vibration monitoring company who selects the most appropriate locations to record vibration. One seismograph can represent vibration levels in the neighboring buildings as well as the building that it is near.
Who receives the seismograph information and ensures that the construction company is acting within the limits? What is the follow up?
The seismograph information is tracked and kept by the third-party blasting consultant in accordance with Insurance requirements and in case there is a legal claim. The city has access to this data if there are any concerns that need to be investigated.
I feel vibration. Doesn't that indicate that damage is being caused?
People (and animals) are very perceptive to a small amount of ground motion. However, without scientific instruments, it can be difficult to accurately put a value on the amount of motion created. Homes take quite a lot of vibration on a daily basis. Door slamming, thunderstorm activity, and wind, all produce vibrations that we feel and take for granted since these are everyday events. The level of vibration from controlled blasting is similar to these types of events and should not damage your home.
Some of the blasts feel much stronger than others.
The position and orientation of a blast at a construction site may cause the perception that one blast is stronger than another. Your location (outside, inside, upper, or lower floor of your house) will also change your perception.
Is there any danger from flying debris created from a blast?
Layers of heavy blasting mats are used with every blast to prevent flying debris and fly-rock. Each blast is actually made up of a series of small blasts that are sequenced to reduce the risk of fly-rock and keep vibration levels to a minimum.