405 KAR 30:290. Topsoil.
RELATES TO: KRS 350.600
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 224.033,
350.028, 350.050, 350.600
NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS
350.600 requires the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to develop administrative
regulations for oil shale operations to minimize and prevent their adverse
effects on the citizens and environment of the Commonwealth. This
administrative regulation sets forth requirements for the removal, storage and
redistribution of topsoil, and requirements for substitution of other materials
Section 1. General. (1) The applicant
shall before making a permit application investigate the proposed permit area
to determine whether lands within the area may be prime farmland according to
405 KAR 30:280, Section 2.
(2) The applicant shall before making a
permit application have soil survey data prepared for the proposed permit area
if survey data is not available from the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. The
soil survey data shall include:
(a) Location of permit boundaries, flood
frequency data, water table, erosion characteristics, permeability, and other
information needed to characterize existing topsoil conditions.
(b) A description of the existing soil
profile showing the depth and thickness of each of the soil horizons to be
removed, stored, and replaced in accordance with Sections 2, 3, and 4 of this
(c) A detailed soil description of the
representative soil of each soil mapping unit in the permit area.
(3) Topsoil removal shall be as specified
in Section 2 of this administrative regulation, storage as specified in Section
3 of this administrative regulation, and replacement as specified in Section 4
of this administrative regulation.
(4) For surface areas which are without
suitable topsoil, the cabinet shall approve and/or specify, on a site-specific
basis, alternative practices designed to utilize those available materials
which are most suitable for supporting successful revegetation. The cabinet
requires the application of nutrients and soil amendments as necessary for
supporting successful revegetation.
(5) Topsoil handling and restoration
plan. The applicant shall submit to the cabinet a plan for the handling and
restoration of topsoil material within the proposed permit boundaries. This
plan shall be used by the cabinet in judging the technological capability of
the applicant to restore topsoil material. The plan shall include the following
and any other data required by the cabinet:
(a) Information contained in the soil
survey as required in Section 1(2) of this administrative regulation;
(b) A description of amount and source of
proposed soil amendments, overburden materials or topsoil borrow areas proposed
as substitutes for existing topsoil;
(c) The location of areas to be used for
the separate stockpiling of the soil horizons and plans for soil stabilization
(d) The proposed method and type of
equipment to be used for removal, storage, and replacement of the soil;
(e) Plans for reclaiming the final graded
mine land and the conservation practices to control erosion and sedimentation
during the first twelve (12) months after regrading is completed. Proper
adjustments for seasons must be made so that final graded land is not exposed
to erosion during seasons when vegetation or conservation practices cannot be
established due to weather conditions; and
(f) Before any permit is issued the
cabinet may consult with the United States Soil Conservation Service and
Kentucky Division of Conservation or other agencies to provide a review of the
proposed method of soil reconstruction and comment on possible revisions that
will result in a more complete and adequate restoration.
Section 2. Removal. (1) Topsoil shall be
removed from areas to be disturbed, after vegetative cover that would interfere
with the use of the topsoil is cleared from those areas, but before any
drilling, blasting, mining, or other surface disturbance of those areas. The
minimum depth of topsoil and subsoil material or topsoil substitute material to
be restored on nonprime farmland areas shall be twenty-four (24) inches, in
accordance with Section 4 of this administrative regulation.
(2) All topsoil and subsoil material
shall be removed in a separate layer from the areas to be disturbed, unless use
of substitute or supplemental materials is approved by the cabinet in
accordance with subsection (6) of this section. If use of substitute or
supplemental materials is approved, all materials to be redistributed shall be
(3) A soil survey providing an inventory
of the topsoil on the permit area will assist in determining the type of
removal and handling required for the topsoil material.
(4) The A horizon as identified by the
soil survey shall be removed as provided in this section and then replaced on
disturbed areas as the surface soil layer.
(a) If the A horizon is less than six (6)
inches, a six (6) inch layer that includes the A horizon and the necessary
subsoil or unconsolidated material immediately below the A horizon as required
to meet the twenty-four (24) inch minimum (or all unconsolidated material if
the total available is less than six (6) inches and the necessary substitute
material to meet the twenty-four (24) inch minimum), shall be removed and the
mixture segregated and redistributed as the surface soil layer at a total
minimum depth of twenty-four (24) inches.
(b) If the A horizon is more than six (6)
inches, all of the A horizon and necessary subsoil shall be removed separately
and restored to meet the twenty-four (24) inch minimum depth.
(5) The cabinet shall require that a
portion or all of the subsoil (B and C horizons) or other underlying layers
demonstrated to have comparable quality for root development be segregated and
replaced as necessary to obtain the minimum twenty-four (24) inch requirement
or to obtain productivity consistent with the approved postmining land use.
(6)(a) Selected overburden materials or
soil amendment may be substituted for or used as a supplement to, topsoil, if
the cabinet determines that the substitute material would be equal to or more
suitable for sustaining vegetation than is the available topsoil or subsoil and
the substitute material is the best available material in the permit area to
support revegetation. This determination shall be based on:
1. The results of chemical and physical
analyses of overburden and topsoil. These analyses shall include determinations
of active soil pH, lime requirements from a SMP buffer or other potential
acidity test, phosphorus, potassium, texture class, and other analyses as
required by the cabinet. The cabinet may also require field-site trials, greenhouse
tests or other demonstrations by the applicant to establish the feasibility of
using these overburden materials.
2. Results of analyses, trials, and tests
shall be submitted to the cabinet. Certification of trials and tests shall be
made by a laboratory approved by the cabinet, stating that: the proposed
substitute material is equal to or more suitable for sustaining the vegetation
than is the available topsoil; the substitute material is the best available
material to support the vegetation; and the trials and tests were conducted
using approved standard testing procedures.
3. Consultation. Before any permit is
approved for substitute materials, the cabinet shall consult with the United
States Soil Conservation Service and the Kentucky Division of Conservation or
other appropriate agencies to provide a review of the proposed substitute
material and comment on possible revisions that will result in a more favorable
substitute material within the permit area to support revegetation.
(b) Substituted or supplemental
overburden material shall be removed, segregated, and replaced in compliance
with the requirements for topsoil under this section.
(7) Where the removal of vegetative
material, topsoil, or other materials may result in erosion which may cause air
or water pollution:
(a) The size of the area from which
topsoil is removed at any one time shall be limited;
(b) The soil horizons or substitute
material shall be redistributed during favorable conditions in which temporary
or permanent vegetative cover can be established to minimize erosion and
protect the physical and chemical properties of the material; and
(c) Such other measures shall be taken as
the cabinet may approve or require to control erosion.
Section 3. Storage. (1) Topsoil and other
materials removed under Section 2 of this administrative regulation shall be
stockpiled only when it is impractical to promptly redistribute such materials
on regraded areas.
(2) Stockpiled materials shall be
selectively placed on a stable area within the permit area, not disturbed, and
protected from wind and water erosion, unnecessary compaction, and contaminants
which lessen the capability of the materials to support vegetation when redistributed.
(a) Protection measures shall be
1. An effective cover of nonnoxious,
quick-growing annual and perennial plants, seeded or planted during the first
normal period after removal for favorable planting conditions; or
2. Other methods demonstrated to and
approved by the cabinet to provide equal protection.
(b) Unless approved by the cabinet,
stockpiled topsoil and other materials shall not be moved until required for
redistribution on a regraded area.
Section 4. Redistribution. (1) After
final grading and before the replacement of topsoil and other materials
segregated in accordance with Section 2 of this administrative regulation,
regraded land shall be scarified or otherwise treated as required by the
cabinet to eliminate slippage surfaces and to promote root penetration. If the
permittee shows, through appropriate tests, and the cabinet approves, that no
harm will be caused to the topsoil and vegetation, scarification may be conducted
(2) Topsoil and other materials shall be
redistributed in a manner that:
(a) Soil replacement starts with those
soil horizons in the reverse order in which they were removed or substitute and
overburden materials replaced first with topsoil material last. The minimum
depth of material to be redistributed is twenty-four (24) inches, in accordance
with Section 2 of this administrative regulation.
(b) Achieves an approximate uniform
stable thickness consistent with the approved postmining land uses, contours,
and surface water drainage system;
(c) Prevents excess compaction of the
(d) Protects the topsoil from wind and
water erosion before and after it is seeded and planted.
Section 5. Nutrients and Soil Amendments.
Nutrients and soil amendments in the amounts determined by soils tests shall be
applied to the redistributed surface soil layer, so that it supports the
approved postmining land use and meets the revegetation requirements of 405 KAR
30:400. All soil tests shall be performed by a qualified laboratory using
standard methods approved by the cabinet. (8 Ky.R. 122; Am. 483; eff. 3-1-82;
TAm eff. 8-9-2007.)