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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
7/11/2020

4VAC25-130-817.22. Topsoil and Subsoil.

(a) Removal.

(1)(i) All topsoil shall be removed as a separate layer from the area to be disturbed, and segregated.

(ii) Where the topsoil is of insufficient quantity or of poor quality for sustaining vegetation, the materials approved by the division in accordance with Paragraph (b) of this section shall be removed as a separate layer from the area to be disturbed, and segregated.

(2) If topsoil is less than six inches thick, the permittee may remove the topsoil and the unconsolidated materials immediately below the topsoil and treat the mixture as topsoil.

(3) The division may choose not to require the removal of topsoil for minor disturbances which -

(i) Occur at the site of small structures, such as power poles, signs, or fence lines; or

(ii) Will not destroy the existing vegetation and will not cause erosion.

(4) Timing. All materials to be removed under this section shall be removed after the vegetative cover that would interfere with its salvage is cleared from the area to be disturbed, but before any drilling, blasting, mining, or other surface disturbance takes place.

(b) Substitutes and supplements.

(1) Selected overburden materials may be substituted for, or used as a supplement to, topsoil if the permittee demonstrates to the division, in accordance with 4VAC25-130-784.13 that the resulting soil medium is equal to, or more suitable for sustaining vegetation than, the existing topsoil, and the resulting soil medium is the best available in the permit area to support revegetation.

(2) Substituted or supplemental material shall be removed, segregated, and replaced in compliance with the requirements of this section for topsoil.

(3) Selected overburden materials may be substituted for or used as a supplement to topsoil, if the slope of the land containing the topsoil is greater than 60 percent (3v:5h) and the selected overburden materials satisfy the following criteria:

(i) The results of the analyses of the overburden required in 4VAC25-130-784.13 demonstrates the feasibility of using the overburden materials.

(ii) The substitute material has a pH greater than 5.0, has a net acidity of less than five tons per 1,000 tons of material or a net alkalinity, and is suitable for sustaining vegetation consistent with the standards for vegetation in 4VAC25-130-817.111 through 4VAC25-130-817.116, and the approved postmining land use.

(c) Storage.

(1) Materials removed under Paragraph (a) of this section shall be segregated and stockpiled when it is impractical to redistribute such materials promptly on regraded areas.

(2) Stockpiled materials shall-

(i) Be selectively placed on a stable site within the permit area;

(ii) Be protected from contaminants and unnecessary compaction that would interfere with revegetation;

(iii) Be protected from wind and water erosion through prompt establishment and maintenance of an effective, quick growing vegetative cover or through other measures approved by the division; and

(iv) Not be moved until required for redistribution unless approved by the division.

(3) Where long term surface disturbances will result from facilities such as support facilities and preparation plants and where stockpiling of materials removed under Paragraph (a)(1) of this section would be detrimental to the quality or quantity of those materials, the division may approve the temporary distribution of the soil materials so removed to an approved site within the permit area to enhance the current use of that site until the materials are needed for later reclamation, provided that-

(i) Such action will not permanently diminish the capability of the topsoil of the host site; and

(ii) The material will be retained in a condition more suitable for redistribution than if stockpiled.

(d) Redistribution.

(1) Topsoil materials and substitutes removed under Paragraph (a) and (b) of this section shall be redistributed in a manner that-

(i) Achieves an approximately uniform, stable thickness when consistent with the approved postmining land use, contours, and surface water drainage systems. Soil thickness may also be varied to the extent such variations help meet the specific revegetation goals identified in the permit;

(ii) Prevents excess compaction of the materials; and

(iii) Protects the materials from wind and water erosion before and after seeding and planting.

(2) Before redistribution of the material removed under Paragraph (a) of this section, the regraded land shall be treated if necessary to reduce potential slippage of the redistributed material and to promote root penetration. If no harm will be caused to the redistributed material and reestablished vegetation, such treatment may be conducted after such material is replaced.

(3) The division may choose not to require the redistribution of topsoil or topsoil substitutes on the approved postmining embankments of permanent impoundments or of roads if it determines that-

(i) Placement of topsoil or topsoil substitutes on such embankments is inconsistent with the requirement to use the best technology currently available to prevent sedimentation; and

(ii) Such embankments will be otherwise stabilized.

(4) Nutrients and soil amendments shall be applied to the initially redistributed material when necessary to establish the vegetative cover. The types and amounts of nutrients and soil amendments shall be determined by soil tests performed by a qualified laboratory using standard methods which are approved by the division. If seeding is done without a site specific soil test -

(i) Fertilization rates of 300 pounds of 16-27-14 or 500 pounds of 10-20-10 or equivalents per acre shall be used.

(ii) Liming rates shall be in accordance with the following table:

Mine Spoil pH

Tons of Lime Needed per Acre to Increase pH to:

5.1 - 5.5

5.6 - 6.2

Test

Sandstone

Shale

Mixed

Sandstone

Shale

Mixed

4.0 - 4.5

2

3

2

3

5

4

4.6 - 5.0

1

3

2

2

4

3

5.1 - 5.5

0

2

1

1

3

2

5.6 - 6.0

0

1

0

0

2

1

(iii) Soil tests shall be performed promptly after topsoiling but before application of any supplementary nutrients and any additional lime and fertilizer applied as necessary.

(e) Subsoil segregation. The division may require that the B horizon, C horizon, or other underlying strata, or portions thereof, be removed and segregated, stockpiled, and redistributed as subsoil in accordance with the requirements of Paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section if it finds that such subsoil layers are necessary to comply with the revegetation requirements of 4VAC25-130-817.111, 4VAC25-130-817.113, 4VAC25-130-817.114, and 4VAC25-130-817.116.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 817.22, 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; Volume 25, Issue 12, eff. March 18, 2009.

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