ALABAMA SURFACE MINING COMMISSION ADMINISTRATIVE CODE

CHAPTER 880-X-8E SURFACE COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION OPERATIONS PERMITS AND COAL EXPLORATION SURFACE MINING PERMIT APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INFORMATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

TABLE OF CONTENTS

880-X-8E-.01 Scope

880-X-8E-.02 Objectives

880-X-8E-.03 Responsibilities

880-X-8E-.04 General Requirements

880-X-8E-.05 Cultural, Historical And Archaeological Resources Information

880-X-8E-.06 Description Of Geology And Hydrology And Determination Of The Probable Hydrologic Consequences

880-X-8E-.07 Vegetation Information

880-X-8E-.08 Soil Resources Information

880-X-8E-.09 Land-use Information

880-X-8E-.10 Prime Farmland Investigation

880-X-8E-.11 Fish And Wildlife Information

880-X-8E-.01 Scope. This Rule establishes the requirements for the environmental resources contents of permit applications for surface mining activities.

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.02 Objectives. The objectives of this Rule are to ensure that each application provides to the State Regulatory Authority a complete and accurate description of the environmental resources that may be impacted or affected by proposed surface mining activities.

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.03 Responsibilities.

(1) It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide, except where specifically exempted in this Rule, all information required by this Rule in the application.

(2) It Is the responsibility of State governmental agencies to provide information for applications as specifically required by this Rule.

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.04 General_Requirements. Each permit application shall include a description of the existing, premining environmental resources within the proposed permit area and off-site areas that may be affected or impacted by the proposed surface mining activities.

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.05 Cultural Historical And Archaeological_Resources Information. Each application shall describe and identify--

(1) The nature of cultural and historic resources listed on, or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and known significant archaeological features within the proposed permit area and adjacent areas. The description shall be based on all available information, including, but not limited to, data of State and local archaeological, historical, and cultural preservation agencies.

(2) The Regulatory Authority may require the applicant to identify and evaluate important historic and archaeological resources that may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, through:

(a) Collection of additional information,

(b) Conduct of field investigations; or

(c) Other appropriate analyses.

Author: Randall C. Johnson

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 91, 92, 96.

History: May 20, 1982; Amended: November 14, 1989; effective: March 7, 1991.

880-X-8E-.06 Description Of Geology And Hydrology And_Determination Of The Probable Hydrologic Consequence.

(1)(a) Hydrologic Information - Sampling and analysis methodology. All water-quality analyses performed to meet the requirements of this section shall be conducted according to the methodology in the 15th edition of "Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater" , which are incorporated by reference, or the methodology in 40 C.F.R. Parts 136 and 434. Water quality sampling performed to meet the requirements of this section shall be conducted according to either methodology listed above when feasible. "Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater" is a joint publication of the American Public Health Association, the American Water Works Association, and the Water Pollution control Federation and is available from the American Public Health Association, 1015 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D. C. 20036. This document is also available for inspection at the Office of the Federal Register Information Center, Room 8301, 1100 L Street, N.W., Washington, D. C.; at the OSM Eastern Technical Service Center, U.S. Department of the Interior, Building 10, Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA; and at the OSM Western Technical Service Center, U.S. Department of the Interior, Brooks Tower, 1020 15th Street, Denver, Colo. This document is incorporated as it exists on the date of the approval, and a notice of any change in it will be published by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission.

(b) Baseline information. The application shall include the following baseline hydrologic information, and any additional information required by the Regulatory Authority.

1. Ground-water information. The location and ownership for the permit and adjacent areas of existing wells, springs, and other ground-water resources, seasonal quality and quantity of ground water, and usage. Water quality descriptions shall include, at a minimum, total dissolved solids or specific conductance corrected to 25 C, pH, total iron, and total manganese. Ground-water quantity descriptions shall include, at a minimum, approximate rates of discharge or usage and depth to the water in the coal seam, and each water-bearing stratum above and potentially impacted stratum below the coal seam.

2. Surface Water information. The name, location, ownership and description of all surface-water bodies such as streams, lakes, and impoundments, the location of any discharge into any surface-water body in the proposed permit and adjacent areas, and information on surface-water quality and quantity sufficient to demonstrate seasonal variation and water usage. Water quality descriptions shall include, at a minimum, baseline information on total suspended solids, total dissolved solids or specific conductance corrected to 25 C, pH, total iron, and total manganese. Baseline acidity and alkalinity information shall be provided if there is a potential for acid drainage from the proposed mining operation. Water quantity descriptions shall include, at a minimum, baseline information on seasonal flow rates.

3. Supplemental information. If the determination of the probable hydrologic consequences (PHC) required by paragraph (1)(f) of this section indicates that adverse impacts on or off the proposed permit area may occur to the hydrologic balance, or that acid-forming or toxic-forming material is present that may result in the contamination of ground-water or surface-water supplies, then information supplemental to that required under paragraphs (1)(b)1. and (1)(b)2. of this Section shall be provided to evaluate such probable hydrologic consequences and to plan remedial and reclamation activities. Such supplemental information may be based upon drilling, aquifer tests, hydrogeologic analysis of the water-bearing strata, flood flows, or analysis of other water quality or quantity characteristics.

(c) Baseline cumulative impact area information.

1. Hydrologic and geologic information for the cumulative impact area necessary to assess the probable cumulative hydrologic impacts of the proposed operation and all anticipated mining on surface and ground-water systems as required by paragraph (1)(g) of this section shall be provided to the Regulatory Authority if available from appropriate Federal or State agencies.

2. If the information is not available from such agencies, then the applicant may gather and submit this information to the Regulatory Authority as part of the permit application.

3. The permit shall not be approved until the necessary hydrologic and geologic information is available to the Regulatory Authority.

(d) Modeling. The use of modeling techniques, interpolation or statistical techniques may be included as part of the permit application, but actual surface- and ground-water information may be required by the Regulatory Authority for each site even when such techniques are used.

(e) Alternative water source information. If the PHC determination required by paragraph (1)(f) of this section indicates that the proposed mining operation may proximately result in contamination, diminution, or interruption of an underground or surface source of water within the proposed permit or adjacent areas which is used for domestic, agricultural, industrial or other legitimate purpose, then the application shall contain information on water availability and alternative water sources, including the suitability of alternative water sources for existing premining uses and approved postmining land uses.

(f) Probable hydrologic consequences determination.

1. The application shall contain a determination of the probable hydrologic consequences (PHC) of the proposed operation upon the quality and quantity of surface and ground water under seasonal flow conditions for the proposed operation and adjacent areas.

2. The PHC determination shall be based on baseline hydrologic, geologic and other information collected for the permit application and may include data statistically representative of the site;

3. The PHC determination shall include findings on:

(i) Whether adverse impacts may occur to the hydrologic balance;

(ii) Whether acid-forming or toxic-forming materials are present that could result in the contamination of surface or ground-water supplies;

(iii) Whether the proposed operation may proximately result in contamination, diminution or interruption of an underground or surface source of water within the proposed permit or adjacent areas which is used for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate purpose; and

(iv) What impact the proposed operation will have on:

A. Sediment yield from the disturbed area;

B. Acidity, total suspended and dissolved solids, and other important water quality parameters of local impact;

C. Flooding or streamflow alterations;

D. Ground-water and surface-water availability; and

E. Other characteristics as required by the Regulatory Authority.

4. An application for a permit revision shall be reviewed by the Regulatory Authority to determine whether a new or updated PHC determination shall be required.

(g) Cumulative hydrologic impact assessment.

1. The Regulatory Authority shall provide an assessment of the probable cumulative hydrologic impacts (CHIA) of the proposed operation and all anticipated mining upon surface- and ground-water systems in the cumulative impact area. The CHIA shall be sufficient to determine, for purposes of permit approval, whether the proposed operation has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area. The Regulatory Authority may allow the applicant to submit data and analyses relevant to the CHIA with the permit application.

2. An application for a permit revision shall be reviewed by the Regulatory Authority to determine whether a new or updated CHIA shall be required.

(h) Hydrologic reclamation plan. The application shall include a plan, with maps and descriptions, indicating how the relevant requirements of Subchapter 880-X-10C, including 880-X-10C-.12 and 10C-.14, will be met. The plan shall be specific to the local hydrologic conditions. It shall contain the steps to be taken during mining and reclamation through bond release to minimize disturbances to the hydrologic balance within the permit and adjacent areas; to prevent material damage outside the permit area, to meet applicable Federal and State water quality laws and regulations; and to protect the rights of present water users. The plan shall include the measures to be taken to: Avoid acid or toxic drainage; prevent, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available, additional contributions of suspended solids to streamflow; provide water-treatment facilities when needed; control drainage; restore approximate premining recharge capacity and protect or replace rights of present water users. The plan shall specifically address any potential adverse hydrologic consequences identified in the PHC determination prepared under paragraph (1)(f) of this section and shall include preventive and remedial measures.

(i) Ground-water monitoring plan.

1. The application shall include a ground-water monitoring plan based upon the PHC determination required under paragraph (1)(f) of this section and the analysis of all base line hydrologic, geologic and other information in the permit application. The plan shall provide for the monitoring of parameters that relate to the suitability of the ground water for current and approved postmining land uses and to the objectives for protection of the hydrologic balance set forth in paragraph (1)(h) of this section. It shall identify the quantity and quality parameters to be monitored, sampling frequency, and site locations. It shall describe how the data may be used to determine the impacts of the operation upon the hydrologic balance. At a minimum, total dissolved solids or specific conductance corrected to 25 C, pH, total iron, total manganese, and water levels shall be monitored and data submitted to the Regulatory Authority at least every three (3) months for each monitoring location. The Regulatory Authority may require additional monitoring.

2. If an applicant can demonstrate by the use of the PHC determination and other available information that a particular water-bearing stratum in the proposed permit and adjacent areas is not one which serves as an aquifer which significantly ensures the hydrologic balance within the cumulative impact area, then monitoring of that stratum may be waived by the Regulatory Authority.

(j) Surface-water monitoring plan.

1 The application shall include a surface water monitoring plan based upon the PHC determination required under paragraph (1)(f) of this section and the analysis of all baseline hydrologic, geologic, and other information in the permit application. The plan shall provide for the monitoring of parameters that relate to the suitability of the surface water for current and approved postmined land uses and to the objectives for protection of the hydrologic balance as set forth in paragraph (1)(h) of this section as well as the effluent limitations found at 40 C. F.R. Part 434.

2. The plan shall identify the surface-water quantity and quality parameters to be monitored, sampling frequency and site locations. It shall describe how the data may be used to determine the impacts of the operation upon the hydrologic balance.

(i) At all monitoring locations in the surface- water bodies such as streams, lakes and impoundments, that are potentially impacted or into which water will be discharged and at upstream monitoring locations the total dissolved solids or specific conductance corrected to 25 C, total suspended solids, pH, total iron, total manganese, and flow shall be monitored.

(ii) For point-source discharges, monitoring shall be conducted in accordance with 40 C.F.R. Parts 122, 123, and 434 and as required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting authority.

3. The monitoring reports shall be submitted to the Regulatory Authority every three (3) months. The Regulatory Authority may require additional monitoring.

(2) Geologic Information.

(a) General. Each application shall include geologic information in sufficient detail to assist in determining--

1. The probable hydrologic consequences of the operation upon the quality and quantity of surface and ground water in the permit and adjacent areas, including the extent to which surface- and ground-water monitoring is necessary;

2. All potentially acid- or toxic-forming strata down to and including the stratum immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined; and

3. Whether reclamation as required by this chapter can be accomplished and whether the proposed operation has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area.

(b) Geologic information shall include, at a minimum the following:

1. A description of the geology of the proposed permit and adjacent areas down to and including the deeper of either the stratum immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined or any aquifer below the lowest coal seam to be mined which may be adversely impacted by mining. The description shall include the areal and structural geology of the permit and adjacent areas, and other parameters which influence the required reclamation and the occurrence, availability, movement, quantity, and quality of potentially impacted surface and ground waters. It shall be based on--

(i) The cross sections, maps and plans required by Subchapter 880-X-8F of this chapter;

(ii) The information obtained under paragraphs (2)(b)2. and (2)(c) of this section; and

(iii) Geologic literature and practices.

2. Analyses of samples collected from test borings, drill cores, or fresh, unweathered, uncontaminated samples from rock outcrops from the permit area, down to and including the deeper of either the stratum immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined or any aquifer below the lowest seam to be mined which may be adversely impacted by mining. The analyses shall result in the following:

(i) Logs showing the lithologic characteristics including physical properties and thickness of each stratum and location of ground water where occurring;

(ii) Chemical analyses identifying those strata that may contain acid- or toxic-forming or alkalinity-producing materials and to determine their content except that the Regulatory Authority may find that the analysis for alkalinity-producing materials is unnecessary; and

(iii) Chemical analyses of the coal seam for acid- or toxic forming materials, including the total sulfur and pyritic sulfur, except that the Regulatory Authority may find that the analysis of pyritic sulfur content is unnecessary.

(c) If determined to be necessary to protect the hydrologic balance or to meet the performance standards of this chapter, the Regulatory Authority may require the collection, analysis, and description of geologic information in addition to that required by paragraph (b) of this section.

(d) An applicant may request the Regulatory Authority to waive in whole or in part the requirements of paragraph (2)(b)2. of this section. The waiver may be granted only if the Regulatory Authority finds in writing that the collection and analysis of such data is unnecessary because other equivalent information is available to the Regulatory Authority in a satisfactory form.

Author: Randall C. Johnson

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History: Original Filed November 14, 1989; effective: March 7, 1991.

880-X-8E-.07 Vegetation Information. The permit application shall contain a map or appropriate description of existing plant communities within the proposed permit area (and adjacent areas, if necessary) adequate to predict the potential for reestablishing vegetation and to demonstrate the suitability of the proposed postmining land use.

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.08 Soil_Resources_Information. Where the applicant proposes to use selected overburden materials as a supplement or substitute for topsoil, the application shall provide results of the analyses, trials, and tests required under Rule 880-X-10C-.08(5).

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.09 Land-use Information.

(1) The application shall contain a statement of the condition, capability, and productivity of the land within the proposed permit area, including --

(a) A narrative of the uses of the land existing at the time of the filing of the application. If the premining use of the land was changed within five years before the anticipated date of beginning the proposed operations, the historic use of the land shall also be described.

(b) A narrative of land capability and productivity, which analyzes the land-use description under Paragraph (1) of this Rule in conjunction with other environmental resources information required under this Rule. The narrative shall provide analyses of:

1. The capability of the land before any mining to support a variety of uses, giving consideration to soil and foundation characteristics, topography, vegetative cover and the hydrology of the proposed permit area; and

2. The productivity of the proposed permit area before mining, expressed as average yield of food, fiber forage, or wood products from such lands obtained under high levels of management. The productivity shall be determined by yield data or estimates for similar sites based on current data from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, State agricultural universities or appropriate State natural resource or agricultural agencies.

(2) The application shall state whether the proposed permit area has been previously mined, and if so, the uses of the land preceding mining.

(3) The application shall contain a description of the existing land uses and land-use classification under local law, if any, of the proposed permit area and adjacent areas.

Author:

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 96.

History:

880-X-8E-.10 Prime Farmland Investigation.

(1) The applicant shall conduct a pre-application investigation to determine whether prime farmland soils exist on the proposed permit area. The investigation shall consist of the following:

(a) If a soil survey exists for the area the applicant shall review such survey to determine if any soils on the proposed permit area are classified as prime farmland soils.

(b) If no soil survey exists for the area, the applicant shall contact the State Regulatory Authority for instructions on conducting an on-site survey of the area. The State Regulatory Authority in consultation with the State Conservationist shall specify the nature and extent of the on- site investigation. If the on-site investigation indicates that prime farmland soils may exist on the permit area, the applicant shall cause a soil survey to be made. Such soil survey shall be of the detail used by the U.S. Conservation Service for operational conservation planning.

(2) If the pre-application investigation establishes that no prime farmland exists on the permit area, the applicant shall request a negative determination from the State Regulatory Authority. Such determination shall be substantiated and based on the following:

(a) The slope of the land is 10% or greater;

(b) Other factors exist, such as very rocky surface, or the land is frequently flooded during the growing season more often than once in two years and the flooding has reduced crop yields; ("other factors" is limited solely to those factors contained in the Secretary of Agriculture's regulations for identification of prime farmland 7 C.F.R. 757.5(g)(2)).

(c) On the basis of the soil survey of the lands within the permit area, there are no soil map units that have been designated prime farmlands by the U. S. Soil Conservation Services; or

(d) The land has not been historically used as cropland.

(3) If the pre-application investigation establishes that prime farmland exists on the permit area, the applicant shall comply with Rule 880-X-8J-.08.

Author: Randall C. Johnson

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-85.

History: Original Filed November 14, 1989; effective: March 7, 1991.

880-X-8E-.11 Fish And Wildlife Information.

(1) Resource Information. Each application shall include fish and wildlife resource information for the permit area and adjacent area.

(a) The scope and level of detail for such information shall be determined by the Regulatory Authority in consultation with State and Federal agencies with responsibilities for fish and wildlife and shall be sufficient to design the protection and enhancement plan required in 880-X-8F-.18(1).

(b) Site-specific resource information necessary to address the respective species or habitats shall be required when the permit area or adjacent area is likely to include:

1. Listed or proposed endangered or threatened species of plants or animals or their critical habitats listed by the Secretary under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), or those species or habitats protected by similar State statutes;

2. Habitats of unusually high value for fish and wildlife such as important streams, wetlands, riparian areas, cliffs supporting raptors, areas offering special shelter or protection, migration routes, or reproduction and wintering areas; or

3. Other species or habitats identified through agency consultation as requiring special protection under State or Federal law.

Author: Randall C. Johnson

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, 9-16-71, et seq., History: Original Filed November 14, 1989; effective: March 7, 1991.