Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 31. Reclamation Regulations for Mineral Mining

4VAC25-31-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Acre-foot" means a unit of volume equal to 43,560 cubic feet or 325,853 gallons. One acre-foot of water is equivalent to one acre covered by water one foot deep.

"Berm" means a stable ridge of material used in reclamation for the control of sound and surface water, safety, aesthetics, or such other purpose as may be applicable.

"Critical areas" means problem areas such as those with steep slopes, easily erodible material, hostile growing conditions, concentration of drainage or other situations where revegetation or stabilization will be potentially difficult.

"Dam break inundation zone" means the area downstream of a dam that would be inundated or otherwise directly affected by the failure of a dam.

"Department" means the Department of Energy.

"Director" means the Director of the Department Energy or his designee.

"Division" means the Division of Mineral Mining.

"Fifty-year storm" means the storm magnitude expected to be equaled or exceeded on the average of once in 50 years. It may also be expressed as a probability that there is a 2.0% chance that the storm magnitude may be equaled or exceeded in any given year. A 50-year, 24-hour storm occurs when the total 50-year storm rainfall occurs in a 24-hour period.

"Inert waste" means brick, concrete block, broken concrete, and uncontaminated minerals or soil.

"Intermittent stream" means a stream that contains flowing water for extended periods during a year, but does not carry flows at all times.

"Internal service roads" means roads that are to be used for internal movement of raw materials, soil, overburden, finished, or in-process materials within the permitted area, some of which may be temporary.

"Natural drainageway" means any natural or existing channel, stream bed, or watercourse that carries surface or ground water.

"One hundred-year storm" means the storm magnitude expected to be equaled or exceeded on the average of once in 100 years. It may also be expressed as a probability that there is a 1.0% chance that the storm magnitude may be equaled or exceeded in any given year. A 100-year, 24-hour storm occurs when the total 100-year storm rainfall occurs in a 24-hour period.

"On-site generated mine waste" means the following items generated by mineral mining or processing activities taking place on the permitted mine site:

Drill steel

Tree stumps/land clearing debris

Crusher liners

Large off-road tires

Conveyor belting

Scrap wood or metal

Steel cable

Steel reinforced air hoses

Screen cloth

Broken concrete or block

Punch plate


"Perennial stream" means a well-defined channel that contains water year round during a year of normal rainfall. Generally, the water table is located above the streambed for most of the year and groundwater is the primary source for stream flow. A perennial stream exhibits the typical biological, hydrological, and physical characteristics commonly associated with the continuous conveyance of water.

"Permitted area" means the area within the defined boundary shown on the application map including all disturbed land area, and areas used for access roads and other mining-related activities.

"Principal access roads" means roads that are well-defined roads leading from scales, sales offices, or loading points to a public road.

"Probable maximum flood (PMF)" means the flood that might be expected from the most severe combination of critical meteorologic and hydrologic conditions that are reasonably possible in the region. The PMF is derived from the current probable maximum precipitation (PMP) available from the National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In some cases local topography or meteorological conditions will cause changes from the generalized PMP values; therefore, it is advisable to contact local, state, or federal agencies to obtain the prevailing practice in specific cases.

"Qualified person" means a person who is suited by training or experience for a given purpose or task.

"Regrade" or "grade" means to change the contour of any surface.

"Riparian buffer" means an area of trees, shrubs, or other vegetation that is managed to maintain the integrity of the stream channel and reduce the effects of upland sources of pollution by trapping, filtering, and converting sediments, nutrients, and other chemicals.

"Sediment" means undissolved organic or inorganic material transported or deposited by water.

"Sediment basin" means a basin created by the construction of a barrier, embankment, or dam across a drainageway or by excavation for the purpose of removing sediment from the water.

"Spillway design flood (SDF)" means the largest flood that needs be considered in the evaluation of the performance for a given project. The impounding structure shall perform so as to safely pass the appropriate SDF. Where a range of SDF is indicated, the magnitude that most closely relates to the involved risk should be selected.

"Stabilize" means any method used to prevent movement of soil, spoil piles, or areas of disturbed earth. This includes increasing bearing capacity, increasing shear strength, draining, compacting, rip-rapping, vegetating or other approved method.

"State waters" means all water, on the surface and under the ground, wholly or partially within or bordering the Commonwealth or within its jurisdiction, including wetlands.

"Ten-year storm" means the storm magnitude expected to be equaled or exceeded on the average of once in 10 years. It may also be expressed as a probability that there is a 10% chance that the storm magnitude may be equaled or exceeded in any given year. A 10-year 24-hour storm occurs when the total 10-year storm rainfall amount occurs in a 24-hour period.

"Top soil" means the surface layer and its underlying materials that have properties capable of producing and sustaining vegetation.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 11, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 6, eff. December 19, 2013; Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 31, 2022.

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