405 KAR 18:190. Backfilling and grading

Link to law: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/405/018/190.htm
Published: 2015

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      405 KAR 18:190.

Backfilling and grading.

 

      RELATES TO: KRS

350.020, 350.093, 350.100, 350.151, 350.405, 350.410, 350.450, 350.465, 30

C.F.R. Parts 730-733, 735, 817.102-.106, 917, 30 U.S.C. 1253, 1255, 1266

      STATUTORY AUTHORITY:

KRS Chapter 13A, 350.028, 350.100, 350.151, 350.465, 30 C.F.R. Parts 730-733,

735, 817.102-.106, 917, 30 U.S.C. 1253, 1255, 1266

      NECESSITY, FUNCTION,

AND CONFORMITY: KRS Chapter 350 in pertinent part requires the cabinet to

promulgate rules and administrative regulations establishing performance

standards for protection of people and property, land, water and other natural

resources, and aesthetic values, during underground mining activities and for

restoration and reclamation of surface areas affected by underground mining

activities. This administrative regulation sets forth requirements for

backfilling and grading of areas affected by surface operations, including

requirements for backfilling and grading of face-up areas and other cut slopes

and limited exemptions, timing of backfilling and grading, covering coal and

acid and toxic materials, and regrading or stabilizing rills and gullies.

 

      Section 1. Timing of

Backfilling and Grading. Surface areas disturbed incident to underground mining

activities shall be backfilled and graded in accordance with a relative

time-schedule approved by the cabinet in accordance with 405 KAR 18:020.

 

      Section 2. General

Backfilling and Grading Requirements. (1) Except as provided in subsection (8)

of this section, all disturbed areas shall be returned to their approximate

original contour. All spoil shall be transported, placed in a controlled

manner, backfilled, compacted (where advisable to ensure stability or to

prevent leaching of toxic materials), and graded to:

      (a) Eliminate all

highwalls (except as otherwise provided in Section 5 of this administrative

regulation), spoil piles, and depressions (excluding depressions and

impoundments approved pursuant to subsection (4) or (5) of this section);

      (b) Ensure a

long-term static factor of safety of at least one and three-tenths (1.3) for

all portions of the reclaimed land;

      (c) Achieve a

postmining slope which does not exceed the angle of repose and which does

prevent slides;

      (d) Minimize erosion

and adverse effects on surface and groundwater both on and off the site; and

      (e) Support the

approved postmining land use.

      (2) Spoil, except

excess spoil disposed of in accordance with 405 KAR 18:130, shall be returned

to the excavated surface areas.

      (3) Disposal of coal

processing waste and underground development waste in the mined-out surface

area shall be in accordance with 405 KAR 18:140, except that a long-term static

safety factor of one and three-tenths (1.3) shall be achieved.

      (4) Small

depressions may be constructed on backfilled areas, if the depressions:

      (a) Are needed to

minimize erosion, conserve soil moisture, create or enhance wildlife habitat,

or promote vegetation;

      (b) Are not

disapproved by the cabinet;

      (c) Are not

substitutes for compliance with approximate original contour requirements;

      (d) Do not adversely

affect the stability of the backfilled area; and

      (e) Are not located

on steep-slope outslopes.

      (5) Impoundments on

backfilled areas may be approved, if the impoundments:

      (a) Meet the

applicable requirements of 405 KAR 18:060, Section 10 and 405 KAR 18:100;

      (b) Are

demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the cabinet in the permit application, to

have no adverse effect on the stability of the backfilled area;

      (c) Are consistent

with and suitable for the approved postmining land use;

      (d) Are specifically

approved by the cabinet in the permit application; and

      (e) Are not located

on steep-slope outslopes.

      (6) All underground

mining activities on slopes above twenty (20) degrees, or on lesser slopes that

the cabinet defines as steep slopes, shall comply with the requirements of 405

KAR 20:060.

      (7) All final

grading; preparation of overburden before replacement of topsoil, topsoil

substitutes, and topsoil supplements; and placement of topsoil, topsoil

substitutes, and topsoil supplements shall be done along the contour to

minimize subsequent erosion and instability. If grading, preparation, or

placement along the contour is hazardous to equipment operators, then grading,

preparation, or placement in a direction other than generally parallel to the

contour may be used. In all cases, grading, preparation, and placement shall be

conducted in a manner which minimizes erosion and provides a surface for

placement of topsoil, topsoil substitutes, and topsoil supplements which will

minimize slippage.

      (8) The postmining

slope may vary from the approximate original contour if approval is obtained

from the cabinet for:

      (a) A variance from

approximate original contour requirements in accordance with 405 KAR 8:050,

Section 6;

      (b) Incomplete elimination

of highwalls in previously mined areas in accordance with Section 5 of this

administrative regulation; or

      (c) Incomplete

elimination of face-up areas and similar cut slopes pursuant to subsection (9)

of this section.

      (9) Face-up areas

and similar cut slopes created prior to the effective date of SMCRA, as defined

at Section 502(a), (b), and (c) therein, that are associated with underground

mining activities which were started prior to the effective date of SMCRA and

which have continued as existing and ongoing operations pursuant to permits

issued under the interim and permanent regulatory programs shall be backfilled

and graded in accordance with the requirements of Section 5 of this administrative

regulation; except that for the purposes of this subsection "reasonably

available spoil" shall not include spoil generated by the operation prior

to the effective date of SMCRA which is not accessible and available for use or

which would cause a hazard to public safety or significant damage to the environment

if rehandled.

 

      Section 3. Disposal

of Acid-forming, Toxic-forming, and Combustible Materials and Coverage of Coal

Seams. (1) General. Exposed coal seams, acid-forming materials, toxic-forming

materials, and combustible materials which are used, produced, or exposed

during surface coal mining and reclamation operations shall be handled;

disposed of; treated; and covered with nontoxic-forming, nonacid-forming, and

noncombustible materials in a manner which:

      (a) Minimizes

adverse impacts on surface and groundwater, minimizes disturbances to the

hydrologic balance, and prevents material damage to the hydrologic balance;

      (b) Ensures

compliance with 405 KAR 18:060;

      (c) Prevents

sustained combustion;

      (d) Minimizes

adverse impacts on plant growth and the approved postmining land use;

      (e) Ensures that the

affected area is capable of sustaining sufficient vegetation to meet the

revegetation requirements of 405 KAR 18:200; and

      (f) Ensures that the

affected area is capable of meeting the postmining land use requirements of 405

KAR 18:220.

      (2) Coverage and

treatment. All exposed coal seams, acid-forming materials, toxic-forming

materials, and combustible materials which are used, produced, or exposed

during surface coal mining and reclamation operations shall be covered and

treated as necessary to neutralize toxicity, acidity, and combustibility, in

order to ensure long-term and short-term compliance with subsection (1) of this

section.

      (a) All exposed coal

seams shall be covered with a minimum of four (4) feet of nontoxic-forming,

nonacid-forming, and noncombustible materials. The cabinet shall require

thicker amounts of cover, special compaction of cover, treatment, or other

measures as necessary to ensure compliance with subsection (1) of this section

and to prevent exposure of the coal seams by erosion.

      (b) Excluding

exposed coal seams, all acid-forming materials, toxic-forming materials, and

combustible materials which are used, produced, or exposed during surface coal

mining and reclamation operations shall be:

      1. Selectively

blended with nontoxic-forming, nonacid-forming, and noncombustible materials;

treated; or selectively handled, or an appropriate combination of those

measures shall be used, as necessary to ensure compliance with subsection (1)

of this section; and

      2. Covered with a

minimum of four (4) feet of nontoxic-forming, nonacid-forming, and

noncombustible materials. The cabinet shall require thicker amounts of cover,

special compaction of cover, treatment, or other measures as necessary to ensure

compliance with subsection (1) of this section and to prevent exposure of the

toxic-forming, acid-forming, or combustible materials by erosion. The cabinet

may approve lesser amounts of cover, or no cover (other than topsoil, topsoil

substitutes, or topsoil supplements), if the applicant demonstrates, to the

satisfaction of the cabinet in the permit application, that the lesser amounts

are sufficient to ensure compliance with subsection (1) of this section and to

maintain coverage of the toxic-forming, acid-forming, and combustible

materials;

      3. If required or

approved by the cabinet, compacted and placed in an environment which minimizes

the oxidation potential of the toxic-forming materials, acid-forming materials,

and combustible materials; and

      4. If required or

approved by the cabinet, disposed so as to minimize surface and groundwater

contact with acid-forming materials, toxic-forming materials, and combustible

materials. Water contact may be minimized by the encasement of those materials

in low-permeability substances and by the compaction and selective placement of

those materials in locations other than surface drainage courses, groundwater

recharge areas, or areas of significant groundwater flow. As an alternative to

minimizing contact with surface and groundwater and if feasible based on site

conditions, the cabinet may allow acid-forming materials, toxic-forming

materials, and combustible materials be placed below the permanent water table.

      (3) The cabinet

shall require measures in addition to those identified in subsection (2) of

this section if necessary to ensure protection of the environment or the health

or safety of the public.

 

      Section 4. Regrading

or Stabilizing Rills and Gullies. Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2)

of this section, if rills or gullies deeper than nine (9) inches form in areas

that have been regraded and topsoiled, the rills and gullies shall be filled,

graded, or otherwise stabilized and the area reseeded and replanted according

to 405 KAR 18:200.

      (1) Rills or gullies

less than nine (9) inches deep shall be stabilized and the area reseeded and

replanted, if the rills or gullies are disruptive to the approved postmining

land use or to the establishment of vegetation, may result in additional

erosion and sedimentation, or may cause or contribute to the violation of a

water quality standard.

      (2) Rills and

gullies deeper than nine (9) inches need not be filled, regraded, and

revegetated if all of the following criteria are met:

      (a) They are incised

to solid bedrock or are otherwise stable and not likely to further erode;

      (b) They are not

disruptive to the approved postmining land use or to the establishment of the

vegetative cover; and

      (c) They neither

cause nor contribute to the violation of water quality standards.

 

      Section 5. Remining

Previously Mined Areas. (1) General requirements. Remining operations on

previously mined areas, including steep slope areas, that contain a preexisting

highwall shall comply with Sections 1 through 4 of this administrative regulation

except as provided in this section.

      (2) Variances to

backfilling and grading requirements for remining operations. The requirements

within Section 2(1)(a) of this administrative regulation to completely

eliminate highwalls shall apply to remining operations, except for situations

in which the volume of all reasonably available spoil is demonstrated, to the

satisfaction of the cabinet in the permit application, to be insufficient to

completely backfill and eliminate the preexisting or modified highwall. The

highwall shall be eliminated to the maximum extent technically practicable in

accordance with the following criteria:

      (a) All reasonably

available spoil shall be used to backfill the area.

      (b) The backfill

shall be graded to a slope which is compatible with the approved postmining

land use and which provides adequate drainage and long-term stability (one and

three-tenths (1.3) long-term static factor of safety). The exposed coal seam

shall be covered in accordance with Section 3 of this administrative regulation.

      (c) Spoil generated

or handled by the remining operation shall not be placed on the fill section of

any existing or new bench.

      (d) Any highwall

remnant shall be stable and not pose a hazard to the public health and safety

or to the environment. The permittee shall demonstrate, to the satisfaction of

the cabinet in the permit application, that the postmining highwall remnant

will be stable. If the highwall remnant is determined by the cabinet to be

unstable or potentially unstable, the permittee shall perform any corrective

measures required by the cabinet to stabilize the highwall remnant.

      (e) Spoil placed on

the outslope during previous mining operations shall not be disturbed if the

disturbance will cause instability of the remaining spoil or otherwise increase

the hazard to the public health or safety or to the environment.

 

      Section 6. Temporary

Storage of Materials. (1) After excavation, materials to be used for

backfilling in compliance with this administrative regulation shall be

returned, for backfilling purposes in accordance with this administrative

regulation, to a mined-out area within the permit area or shall be temporarily

stored in designated storage areas designs of which have been provided in the

permit application and thereby approved by the cabinet.

      (2) Temporary

storage areas shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the

requirements of 405 KAR 18:130 or 405 KAR 18:140, depending on the type of

material, except as specified in the following:

      (a) If the temporary

storage area is to exist for six (6) months or longer, the storage area shall

be protected by establishment of an effective cover of nonnoxious,

quick-growing, annual and perennial plants seeded or planted during the first

normal seeding or planting period following placement of the fill material and

resown as necessary thereafter.

      (b) Topsoil, topsoil

substitute, and topsoil supplement materials to be used in final reclamation of

the temporary storage area shall either be stockpiled in accordance with 405

KAR 18:050, Section 3(1) through (3) or temporarily redistributed on areas in

accordance with 405 KAR 18:050, Section 3(4). The applicant shall submit, in

the permit application, a discussion from a qualified soil scientist or

qualified agronomist which indicates, to the satisfaction of the cabinet, that

the topsoil stockpile or temporary redistribution plan will minimize adverse

effects on the quality and quantity of the topsoil, topsoil substitute, and

topsoil supplement materials.

      (3) Fills designed

and constructed in accordance with this section may be retained as permanent

structures if:

      (a) The cabinet

approves a permit revision submitted in accordance with 405 KAR 8:010, Section

20 for retention of the fill as a permanent structure and for the use of

alternate materials to backfill areas and return the disturbed areas to their

approximate original contour, in accordance with the requirements of this

administrative regulation;

      (b) Topsoil, topsoil

substitute, and topsoil supplement materials are redistributed on the fill in

accordance with 405 KAR 18:050;

      (c) The fill is

revegetated and reclaimed in accordance with 405 KAR 18:200, 405 KAR 18:220,

and all other applicable requirements of KRS Chapter 350 and 405 KAR; and

      (d) The borrow area

or other area from which the alternate backfill material is obtained is

permitted under a valid permit from Department for Natural Resources and is

reclaimed in accordance with the requirements of KRS Chapter 350 and 405 KAR.

(8 Ky.R. 1578; eff. 1-6-83; Am. 10 Ky.R. 824; eff. 4-23-84; 12 Ky.R. 951; 1332;

eff. 2-4-86; 13 Ky.R. 1891; eff. 7-2-87; 15 Ky.R. 498; 1089; eff. 12-13-88; 18

Ky.R. 438; 1877; eff. 11-26-91; TAm eff. 8-9-2007.)