Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
10/27/2021

Chapter 355. Rules Governing Operator's Responsibility to Redistribute Topsoil

20VAC5-355-10. Applicability.

This chapter sets forth requirements for operators installing underground pipeline or conduit, with an inside diameter greater than 12 inches or an underground electric transmission or distribution line of greater than 115 kilovolts in capacity, to mitigate the effects of the project if the project disturbs 10,000 square feet or more of agricultural land.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.5 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2021.

20VAC5-355-20. Definitions.

The following terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Operator" means any person who owns, furnishes, or transports materials or services by means of a utility line.

"Topsoil" means at least 12 inches of the surface soil layer or a six-inch layer of soil that includes the surface soil and the unconsolidated subsoil immediately below it.

"Underground utility line" means an underground pipeline or conduit of an inside diameter greater than 12 inches or an underground electrical transmission or distribution line of a capacity greater than 115 kilovolts.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.5 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2021.

20VAC5-355-30. Operator's responsibilities to redistribute topsoil; waiver.

A. If any operator, in the course of installing an underground utility line, disturbs an area of land that measures 10,000 square feet or more and constitutes one or more agricultural operations, as defined in § 3.2-300 of the Code of Virginia, the operator shall provide written notice to the landowner or land management agency of their respective rights under § 56-257.5 of the Code of Virginia and this chapter, document any responses received, and if requested by the landowner or land management agency, take the following actions:

1. Redistribute the topsoil removed from the disturbed area to graded areas elsewhere on the land of the affected property inside or outside of the operator's easement, however the operator shall not also then be required to replace or replenish topsoil on the disturbed area; or

2. If insufficient graded areas are available as sites for such redistribution inside or outside of the operator's easement, stockpile the removed topsoil within or outside of the operator's easement until it can be redistributed on the area initially disturbed.

B. Operators redistributing topsoil pursuant to this section shall place the topsoil on scarified land. Operators also shall protect stockpiled topsoil from erosion and compaction by taking reasonable steps such as strategic placement, sediment management, temporary seeding, constructing silt fencing and other barriers, or employing other measures not inconsistent with Virginia State Water Control Board Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations (9VAC25-840) and Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Regulation (9VAC25-870).

C. If the property owner does not agree to the redistribution of topsoil pursuant to this section, the topsoil shall be disposed of in accordance with other applicable law.

D. A request for waiver of any of the provisions in this chapter shall be considered by the State Corporation Commission on a case-by-case basis and may be granted upon a finding that such waiver is in the public interest and on such terms and conditions as the State Corporation Commission may impose.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.5 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2021.

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