Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 6. Coal Mining Property, Interests, Adjacent Owners, and Dams
5/29/2022

§ 45.2-619. (Effective October 1, 2021) Examination of retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment; potentially hazardous condition; plans to be submitted by operators.

A. Each retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment shall be examined by an authorized person, as defined in § 45.2-501, at least every seven days or as otherwise approved by the Chief. Each such retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment shall be examined for compliance with approved design and maintenance requirements, visible structural weakness, volume overload, and other hazards.

B. After each examination, the authorized person, as defined in § 45.2-501, shall promptly record the results of the examination in a book that shall be available at the retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment, or other designated location, for inspection by the Chief or his authorized representative. Each examination record shall include a description of any potentially hazardous condition found and any action taken to abate such potentially hazardous condition. Each record shall be countersigned by the supervisor of the authorized person creating the record. If such record discloses a potentially hazardous condition, the countersigning of the record shall be performed no later than the end of the next regularly scheduled working shift following the shift for which the examination was completed, and the person countersigning shall ensure that actions to eliminate or control the potentially hazardous condition have been taken. The operator of the retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment may authorize a person who possesses authority equivalent to that of the supervisor to act in the supervisor's temporary absence to read and countersign the record and ensure that action is taken to eliminate the potentially hazardous condition disclosed in the record.

C. When rising water, coal slurry, or silt reaches 80 percent by volume of the safe design capacity of a retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment, the examination required by subsection A shall be made more often as required by the Chief or his authorized representative.

D. When a potentially hazardous condition exists, the operator shall immediately initiate procedures to:

1. Remove all persons from the area that can reasonably be expected to be affected by the potentially hazardous condition;

2. Eliminate the potentially hazardous condition; and

3. Notify the Chief and other governing agencies by the quickest available means following the protocol established in the site's emergency notification and evacuation plan pursuant to § 45.2-620.

E. The operator of each coal site on which a retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment is located shall submit a plan for carrying out the requirements of § 45.2-618 and subsections A through D for approval by the Chief. The plan shall include:

1. The designs, construction specifications, and other related data required pursuant to § 45.2-618;

2. A schedule and procedures for inspection of the retaining dam or mine refuse impoundment by a qualified person under normal conditions and under conditions that could cause flooding;

3. Procedures for evaluating a potentially hazardous condition;

4. Procedures for removing all persons from the area that can reasonably be expected to be affected by the potentially hazardous condition;

5. Procedures for eliminating the potentially hazardous condition;

6. Procedures for notifying the Chief and other governing agencies; and

7. Any additional information that may be required by the Chief.

F. Before making any changes or modifications in the approved plan, the operator shall obtain approval of such changes or modifications from the Chief.

G. The Chief shall notify the operator in writing whether the operator's plan is approved or disapproved. If the Chief disapproves the plan, he shall provide the operator with his written objections thereto and his required amendments.

1974, c. 323, § 45.1-224; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.