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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
Chapter 130. Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations
7/6/2020

4VAC25-130-816.83. Coal Mine Waste; Refuse Piles.

Refuse piles shall meet the requirements of 4VAC25-130-816.81, the additional requirements of this section, and the requirements of 30 CFR 77.214 and 77.215.

(a) Drainage control.

(1) If the disposal area contains springs, natural or manmade water courses, or wet weather seeps, the design shall include diversions and underdrains as necessary to control erosion, prevent water infiltration into the disposal facility and ensure stability.

(2) Uncontrolled surface drainage may not be diverted over the outslope of the refuse pile. Runoff from the areas above the refuse pile and runoff from the surface of the refuse pile shall be diverted into stabilized diversion channels designed to meet the requirements of 4VAC25-130-816.43 to safely pass the runoff from a 100-year, 6-hour precipitation event. Runoff diverted from undisturbed areas need not be commingled with runoff from the surface of the refuse pile. The appropriate surface drainage system shall be installed prior to placement of coal mine waste in the disposal area.

(3) Underdrains shall comply with the requirements of 4VAC25-130-816.71(f)(3).

(b) Surface area stabilization. Slope protection shall be provided to minimize surface erosion at the site. All disturbed areas, including diversion channels that are not riprapped or otherwise protected, shall be revegetated upon completion of construction.

(c) Placement.

(1) All vegetative and organic materials shall be removed from the disposal area prior to placement of coal mine waste. Topsoil shall be removed, segregated, and stored or redistributed in accordance with 4VAC25-130-816.22. If approved by the division, organic material may be used as mulch, or may be included in the topsoil to control erosion, promote growth of vegetation or increase the moisture retention of the soil.

(2) The final configuration of the refuse pile shall be suitable for the approved postmining land use. Terraces may be constructed on the outslope of the refuse pile if required for stability, control of erosion, conservation of soil moisture, or facilitation of the approved postmining land use. The grade of the outslope between terrace benches shall not be steeper than 2h:1v (50 percent). Terraces, if constructed, shall be no less than 20 feet in width and the vertical distance between terraces shall not exceed 50 feet. Terraces on the fill shall be graded with a minimum 3.0% grade toward the fill and a minimum 1.0% slope toward the drainage control system.

(3) No permanent impoundments shall be allowed on the completed refuse pile. Small depressions may be allowed by the division if they are needed to retain moisture, minimize erosion, create and enhance wildlife habitat, or assist revegetation, and if they are not incompatible with stability of the refuse pile.

(4) Following final grading of the refuse pile, the coal mine waste shall be covered with a minimum of four feet of the best available, nontoxic and noncombustible material, in a manner that does not impede drainage from the underdrains. The division may allow less than four feet of cover material based on physical and chemical analyses which show that the requirements of 4VAC25-130-816.111 through 4VAC25-130-816.116 will be met.

(d) Inspections. A qualified registered professional engineer, or other qualified professional specialist under the direction of the professional engineer, shall inspect the refuse pile during construction. The professional engineer and specialist shall be experienced in the construction of similar earth and waste structures.

(1) Such inspections shall be made at least quarterly throughout construction and during critical construction periods. Critical construction periods shall include at a minimum: (i) foundation preparation including the removal of all organic material and topsoil; (ii) placement of underdrains and protective filter systems; (iii) installation of final surface drainage systems; and (iv) the final graded and revegetated facility. Regular inspections by the engineer or specialist shall also be conducted during placement and compaction of coal mine waste materials. More frequent inspections shall be conducted if a danger of harm exists to the public health and safety or the environment. Inspections shall continue until the refuse pile has been finally graded and revegetated or until a later time as required by the division.

(2) The qualified registered professional engineer shall provide a certified report to the division within two weeks after each inspection that the refuse pile has been constructed and maintained as designed and in accordance with the approved plan and this chapter. The report shall include appearances of instability, structural weakness, and other hazardous conditions.

(3) The certified report on the drainage system and protective filters shall include color photographs taken during and after construction, but before underdrains are covered with coal mine waste. If the underdrain system is constructed in phases, each phase shall be certified separately. The photographs accompanying each certified report shall be taken in adequate size and number with enough terrain or other physical features of the site shown to provide a relative scale to the photographs and to specifically and clearly identify the site.

(4) A copy of each inspection report shall be retained at or near the minesite.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-230 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 816.83, eff. December 15, 1981; amended, eff. June 28, 1982; October 28, 1982; December 14, 1982; October 11, 1983; December 27, 1983; May 8, 1984; June 22, 1984; August 2, 1984; October 16, 1985; January 7, 1987; July 22, 1987; November 25, 1987; October 12, 1988; December 26, 1990; July 1, 1991; July 17, 1991; November 20, 1991; July 7, 1992; May 5, 1993; October 19, 1994.

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