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Part 422: Mined Land-Use Plan

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 3-031-[2], 23-2713, 23-2721)

[Effective January 18, 1995]

[page 1 of 1]

Contents:

Sec.

§422.1 General Provisions

(a) Every applicant for a mining permit shall submit to the department a mined land-use plan which shall set forth in detail an outline of the mining property and the affected land, the applicant's mining plan and the applicant's reclamation plan. After the department has issued a mining permit, the permittee shall not deviate or depart from the mined land-use plan without approval by the department of an alteration or amendment thereto.

(b) The applicant's mining and reclamation plans shall describe the mining method, as designated by the applicant on the basis of current or anticipated mining practices, and the reclamation method, having as its objective the preparation of the affected land for a future productive use. The proposed method of operating a mine and the method of reclaiming the affected land to achieve the applicant's land-use objective shall be compatible with sound environmental management practices. To this end the mining and reclamation plans shall be consistent with the purposes and policies as set forth in section 420.2 of this Title.

(c) The mined land-use plan shall be presented in a combination of graphic (map) and written (text or narrative) form. The information to be presented in graphic form shall be submitted on a United States geological survey 7 1/2-minute quadrangle sheet (unless unmapped at that base in which case a 15-minute sheet will suffice) which has been enlarged to the required scale as described in this section. An equivalent map, prepared on the required scale, may be utilized in lieu of a quadrangle sheet. The equivalent map, if utilized, shall be prepared by an engineer, geologist, licensed land surveyor or other person trained in such plan and map preparation. Vertical aerial photographs or maps prepared on an aerial photo base may also be utilized when presenting information in graphic form. The department reserves the right to reject aerial photographs on the basis of their being out of date, of poor quality, of improper scale or for other reasons which render them unsatisfactory for the required purpose. All maps and photographs shall be presented with a horizontal scale not to exceed one inch equals 660 feet. Contour intervals and/or cross sections shall be as prescribed by the department. Overlays may be submitted in conjunction with either maps or photographs to illustrate any of the required information. The maps and photographs shall be prepared in a neat, legible manner and shall include a title block and legend containing the following information:

(1) the name of the mine; (2) the county and town in which the mine is located; (3) the name of the U.S.G.S. quadrangle sheet on which the mine location is shown; (4) the scale, contour interval, where required, a north arrow and a reference datum; (5) the location of the groundwater table where such information is available; (6) the name of the person responsible for the preparation of the maps and/or photographs; and (7) the date of preparation.

(d) An applicant proposing to conduct a mining operation in conjunction with a Department of Transportation contract, in accordance with the requirements of said agency's contract documents and specifications, may submit a copy of the contract agreement to the department in lieu of a mined land-use plan. If a mining permit is issued, the contract documents and specifications shall satisfy the requirements of this Part and shall be enforceable as such. The department will monitor the mining operation in cooperation with the engineer-in-charge to insure conformance with title 27 and this Subchapter.

(e) Before taking action on the application, the department may require additional information, explanation, documents, maps or photographs, where deemed necessary or appropriate to achieve the policies, objectives or requirements of title 27 and this Subchapter.

(f) The department may modify any of the substantive requirements of this Part upon a showing by the applicant that the proposed modification will achieve the same degree of environmental protection as would be achieved by compliance with the provision for which modification is requested. Requests for modification must be in writing in the original application, renewal application or by amendment.

§422.2 Mining Plan, Specific Provisions

(a) The mining plan shall indicate: the general geographic location of the mine; an outline of the affected land; the location and description of topographic, cultural and land-use features within and adjacent to the affected land; a description of the existing condition of the ground surface at the mine including areas already mined or disturbed by mining activity; the applicant's proposed method of mining including proposals for minimizing the effect of mining on the environment and on the property, health, safety and general welfare of the people of the State.

(b) The graphic portion of the mining plan shall consist of a map or photograph prepared in accordance with section 422.1(c) of this Part. The information to be presented in graphic form shall include:

(1) an accurate geographic location of the mine; (2) the location of adjacent topographic, cultural and land-use features including, but not limited to, landforms, drainage, bodies of water, roads and buildings; (3) an outline of the affected land; and (4) the location and size of the following elements of mining: areas of mineral extraction or removal (cuts and excavations); areas of mineral preparation and processing (stockpiles, settling ponds and treatment facilities); haulageways; areas of mineral, refuse and spoil storage; repair and shipping areas; drainage and water control features; and screening.

(c) The written portion of the mining plan shall consist of a description of the mine and the mining method. The information to be presented in written form shall include:

(1) a description of the affected land indicating the present use of the land. The description shall also indicate the present physical condition of the land including the existence of structures, vegetation and water cover; (2) a description of the existing or proposed mine indicating if the operation is a surface consolidated, surface unconsolidated or underground mine; (3) a description of the mining method indicating the method of extraction, the sequence of cuts and excavations, the disposition of materials other than through sale, exchange, commercial, industrial or municipal use, and the use of haulageways. The applicant shall be governed by the following standards when submitting the required information.

(i) The method of extraction shall mean removal such as by drilling and blasting, the use of mechanical equipment (backhoe, shovel, front end loader, dragline) or by dredging. (ii) Any cut or excavation within the permit area, whether it is for the purpose of gaining access to a mineral, mining a mineral, or of transporting a mineral shall be considered to affect the reclamation plan unless the applicant can demonstrate otherwise. Shafts, drifts, adits, tunnels, lifts, and inclines shall be considered types of cuts and excavations. (iii) The perimeter of a temporary or permanent mine floor shall not be established closer to either the property line most nearly adjacent to the affected land or to any easement within or adjacent to the affected land than the following: a distance of 25 feet measured in a horizontal plane when the adjacent property or easement is at or below the proposed final elevation of the affected land; a distance equal to the sum of 25 feet plus one and one-half times the height of the mine face in an unconsolidated material or a distance equal to the sum of 25 feet plus one and one-quarter times the height of the mine face in a consolidated material, when the adjacent property is at a higher elevation than the affected land. The applicant may, with the approval of the department, modify the distance requirements contained in this subparagraph. (iv) The perimeter of a stockpile or spoil bank shall not be established closer to either the property line most nearly adjacent to the affected land or to any easement within or adjacent to the affected land than a distance of 25 feet. The applicant may, with the approval of the department, modify the distance requirement contained in this subparagraph. (v) The disposition of all materials utilized during or resulting from mining shall be as follows:

(a) All refuse which is removed from the site during mining shall be disposed of in accordance with applicable rules and regulations of the department relative to solid waste management (refuse disposal). (b) Materials which are to be disposed of during reclamation shall be stored or stockpiled either within the permit area or at some other location identified by the applicant. These materials shall be temporarily treated to prevent their becoming unstable, hazardous, a source of pollution of the environment, or damaging to other property. Such treatment may consist of stabilization by stockpiling, grading, natural or artificial covering, screening or any other effective method of achieving the required results. Final treatment of these materials shall be in accordance with the requirements for reclaiming the affected land as contained in section 422.3 of this Part.

(vi) Plans for the use and treatment of haulageways shall provide for the control of drainage, air and water pollution and erosion where such features processes affect or are likely to affect the surrounding property.

(4) A description of the applicant's proposed method for preventing pollution, reducing soil erosion, and minimizing the effect of mining on the people of the State shall be required when and to the extent necessary to achieve compliance with the regulations of the department relative to: land use; air and water quality; solid waste management; the use and protection of waters; the protection of the natural resources of the State including soil, forests, water, fish, wildlife, and all aquatic or terrestrial related environment, and to any other applicable standards. The following methods, a combination thereof, or equally effective substitutes, may be utilized to accomplish the above stated objectives:

(i) Dust and noise control--may be provided by the utilization of water and chemicals for dust control; through the utilization of equipment which is adequately muffled to prevent excessive noise and vibration; and through the use of screening for control of dust and/or noise; (ii) Drainage and water control--may be provided by the utilization of existing natural waterways and water bodies and by the construction of additional channels, water impoundments or water control equipment. Plans for water control equipment, where utilized, shall be submitted by the applicant in conjunction with the written portion of the mining plan. The alteration of stream beds or banks located within the permit area will be subject to the regulations of the department relative to the use and protection of waters promulgated pursuant to sections 15-1501 and 15-0505 of the Environmental Conservation Law. (iii) Screening--may consist of either artificial or natural barriers such as berms, fences, shrubs, trees or any combination of these which have the multiple effect of confining dust and flying particles to the mine, reducing noise levels, and which minimize the visual impact of the mine on the people of the State.

§422.3 Reclamation Plan, Specific Provisions

(a) The reclamation plan shall describe the applicant's proposed land-use objective to be achieved in the final stage of reclamation; the proposed method of reclaiming the affected land providing, where possible, for orderly, continuing reclamation concurrent with mining; and a schedule for reclaiming the affected land.

(b) Acceptable basic reclamation requirements as contained in this section shall provide for the development of the affected land either to a condition or physical state which is similar to and compatible with that which existed prior to any mining or which encourages the future productive use of the land. Basic reclamation shall include: grading and slope treatment, disposal of refuse or spoil, drainage and water control features, and revegetation; proposals for the prevention of pollution, the protection of the environment, the protection and perpetuation of the taxable value of property, and the protection of the property, health, safety and general welfare of the people of the State. The applicability of such requirements shall be determined by the department on the basis of the location of the affected land, the type of material being mined and the natural processes to which the affected land will be subject. When the proposed reclamation plan consists of subsequent construction, the site may be so prepared. In such cases, there must be a contractual agreement on file with the department at the time mining ceases indicating that construction will commence within six months unless this period is extended by the department. The applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the department that adequate measures will be taken to protect the environment during such period.

If construction does not commence within the six month period after the termination of mining, or, if construction is for any reason thereafter terminated before completion, the permittee shall be responsible for reclaiming the affected land to a condition which satisfies the basic reclamation requirements as contained in this Subchapter.

(c) The graphic portion of the reclamation plan shall consist of a map or photograph prepared to the same standards as for the mining plan. The information to be presented in graphic form shall include:

(1) an outline of the affected land; (2) a grading plan which illustrates, by the use of contours or accompanying cross sections, the proposed final grades to be established on the affected land insofar as it is possible to determine; and (3) a map which illustrates the proposed final stage of reclamation for all affected land including but not limited to the following: revegetated areas, drainage features, water impoundments, building sites, recreational areas, wild life areas, haulageways and any other feature consistent with the applicant's land-use objective and proposed reclamation method.

(d) The written portion of the reclamation plan shall include:

(1) a description of the applicant's land-use objective such as: farming; pasture; forestry; recreation, industrial, commercial or residential uses; solid waste disposal; a combination thereof; or other uses acceptable to the department. The affected land, or a portion thereof, may be preserved as a scientific or historical site upon the recommendation of a qualified professional in either field and with the approval of the department. (2) a description of the applicant's proposed method of reclaiming the affected land which is consistent with the stated land-use objective. This description shall include, specifics relative to: the disposition of all refuse, spoil, stockpiles and personal property; the treatment of haulageways; drainage and water control; water impoundments; grading and revegetation. The applicant shall be governed by the following standards in submitting the required information:

(i) Disposition of materials. All refuse, spoil, unused mineral stockpiles and personal property shall either be removed from the permit area or utilized during reclamation of the affected land.

(a) Off-site disposal of refuse during reclamation shall be governed by applicable rules and regulations of the department relative to solid waste management (refuse disposal). (b) On-site disposal of refuse shall be accomplished in a manner such that emanations (fumes and leachate) therefrom shall not cause or contribute to a condition in contravention of the classifications and standards of quality and purity of the air and waters of the State. Refuse and other material (clauses (d), (e) of this subparagraph) which will not support vegetative growth shall be covered to a minimum compacted depth of two feet. All cover material shall be identified in the plan and must be acceptable to the department. Cover material which is to be utilized in areas to be revegetated must conform to the revegetation requirements contained in this section. (c) Spoil and unused mineral stockpiles may be utilized to blend areas of sharply contrasting slopes or to provide a cover material consistent with the proposed reclamation plan. That material which is not utilized for the above purposes and which remains at the mine shall be treated in accordance with all other requirements for the disposition of materials, and with the requirements for grading, drainage, erosion control and revegetation consistent with the applicable standards as described in this subdivision. (d) Large blocks of rock, boulders or other similar materials which are to remain on the affected land shall be included in landscaping or shall be covered as described in this section. (e) Trees, brush, stumps and other vegetative material remaining on the affected land may be burned, reduced to a mulch or covered as hereinabove described. The burning of the material shall only be allowed if the permittee has obtained a restricted burning permit from the department. (f) All machinery, equipment, tools and other personal property or any portion thereof shall either be removed from the permit area, disposed of on the site or incorporated into the final use of the affected land. Personal property which is disposed of on the site shall be considered as refuse and shall be treated in accordance with the standards for the disposition of materials as contained in this subdivision.

(ii) Treatment of haulageways. Haulageways within the permit area shall be incorporated into the final use of the land or shall be reclaimed in accordance with the standards applicable to other affected land.

(a) Those haulageways which are to be retained as public roads or travelways in conjunction with the applicant's land-use objectives shall be subject to applicable governmental requirements. (b) Those haulageways which are not to be incorporated into the final use of the land shall be treated as affected land and reclaimed in a manner which is consistent with the proposed final land use.

(iii) Drainage. Every reasonable effort shall be made to minimize the disturbance of the prevailing hydrologic balance at and adjacent to the mine.

(a) All water discharged to surface water or to groundwater shall be governed by the rules and regulations of the department relative to the quality and purity of the waters of the State. (b) Water courses or impoundments shall be provided to transmit, store or remove surface water run-off and to reduce the potential for flooding and the subsequent erosion, siltation and pollution of adjacent streams or lands. (c) Drainage and water control features (channels, culverts, impoundments, etc.) which could be directly influenced by the effects of flooding shall be designed to protect the property, health, safety and general welfare of the people of the State. The design standards shall be such that reclamation will not have a detrimental effect on such property through an increase in the amount or rate of run-off or erosion, or by a change in the drainage pattern.

(iv) Water impoundment. Water may be impounded for wildlife, recreation, water control or water supply purposes provided that the construction of such impoundments does not contravene the standards established by the department pursuant to articles 15 and 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law as applied to both protected and non-protected waters.

(a) Water impoundments constructed during mining shall either be incorporated into the final use of the land or shall be reclaimed in accordance with requirements for all affected land. (b) All water impoundments and associated structures shall be designed and constructed in accordance with acceptable engineering practice and applicable government standards. (c) All water impoundments shall be constructed in a manner which allows the continuous movement of water, such as by evaporation, percolation or flow, and which precludes the creation of stagnant, or otherwise undesirable conditions. (d) All water impoundments shall be constructed with features to allow a safe and convenient means of entry and exit for inspection or use. (e) The discharge of water from any impoundment to either surface or subsurface waters shall be governed by the regulations of the department relative to the preservation of the quality and purity of such waters.

(v) Grading. All mine faces and openings shall be treated in such a manner as to leave them in a condition which minimizes the possibility of rock falls, slope failure and collapse. The type of treatment shall be compatible with the surrounding terrain and shall be based upon the natural characteristics of the material including the grain size of the mineral, degree of consolidation, weathering characteristics, discontinuities (areas or planes of weakness) and the height and configuration of a face or opening. Such treatment shall be consistent with the applicant's land-use objective.

(a) A mine face which is loose or fractured and unlikely to hold a stable slope shall be stabilized by the use of controlled blasting or scaling; by the use of benches, flatter slopes or reduced face heights or by the use of artificial rock stabilization methods such as rock bolting and the application of pneumatically projected concrete. (b) All ridges, peaks and slopes created either by excavation of a mineral or by the disposal of spoil shall be left no steeper than the following: rock (ledge or bedrock)--90 degrees depending upon the condition and characteristics of the formation as it exists in the mine; talus (broken rock)--37 degrees, or a slope of one vertical on one and one-quarter horizontal, unless the talus is to be covered and revegetated in which case the slope shall not exceed that which is required for fine sand, silt and clay; coarse sand and gravel--33 degrees, or a slope of one vertical on one and one-half horizontal; fine sand, silt and clay--26 degrees or a slope of one vertical on two horizontal. The slope provisions contained in this clause may be modified with the approval of the department. (c) The perimeter of a mine shall be treated in a manner so as to eliminate hazards and to minimize the visual impact of the mine to the maximum practical extent. Treatment to minimize the visual impact of the mine may include the use of berms, shrub and tree plantings and fencing. (d) All openings to underground mines shall be backfilled, sealed or otherwise treated in accordance with applicable Federal and State statutes and rules and regulations.

(vi) Revegetation. A vegetative cover shall be provided on the affected land where vegetation is indigenous to the area and where revegetation is consistent with the land-use objective as designated in an approved mined land-use plan.

(a) Any area designated for revegetation shall be covered with an amount and type of material sufficient to support the growth of the proposed plant material. A minimum of six inches of a cover material with a soil composition capable of sustaining plant growth shall be provided on all land to be revegetated. The amount of soil cover may be reduced if the applicant or permittee can demonstrate that a lesser amount will be sufficient to support the growth of the proposed plant material in accordance with the requirements contained in this subparagraph. (b) Vegetative material used in reclamation shall consist of grasses, legumes, herbaceous or woody plants, shrubs, trees or a mixture thereof which is consistent with site capabilities such as drainage, Ph, soil depth, available nutrients soil composition and climate. Such vegetation should be designed to provide a cover consistent with the stated land-use objective and which does not constitute a health hazard. (c) Plant material to be utilized in revegetating the affected land shall be planted during the first planting season following the preparation of the land for such purpose. (d) An acceptable vegetative cover shall be considered to be a permanent stand or a stand capable of regeneration and succession sufficient to assure 75 percent coverage of the areas planted if only ground cover (no trees) is utilized, or a 60 percent survival rate for shrubs and trees which are utilized, by the end of the second growing season after planting. If revegetation is not completely successful, the areas of failure must be randomly distributed, shall not exceed one-half acre in every two acres so treated and shall not endanger the success of revegetation in adjacent areas within the affected land.

(3) A schedule, accepted or designated by the department which provides details as to the timing for each phase of reclamation.

(e) The permittee shall reclaim all affected land within a two year period after mining ceases unless the department shall approve a longer period. The reclamation period may be extended in the following cases:

(1) upon submission by the permittee of evidence, satisfactory to the department, that reclamation cannot be completed within the approved time schedule. An extension shall be granted for this case only when the permittee has made a reasonable effort to comply with the provisions of title 27 and this Subchapter. (2) upon the temporary shutdown of a mine, during which time the permit and reclamation bond requirements shall remain in force. The permittee will also be required to maintain the mine in a condition which does not result in a contravention of environmental standards.

(f) The permittee shall notify the department when reclamation of the affected land has been completed. The department shall conduct an inspection within 15 days of receipt of said notification to establish that reclamation has been performed in accordance with the mined land-use plan as submitted by the permittee. If the inspection indicates that the permittee has not complied with the reclamation provisions of the mined land-use plan, reclamation shall not be approved. In such case, the permittee shall be required to correct inadequacies encountered during the department's review process. If the department determines that the permittee has complied with the reclamation provisions of the mined land-use plan, reclamation shall be approved and the bond shall be released except as provided in section 423.3(c) of this Part.

§422.4 Reports

(a) The permittee shall file reports, on forms provided by the department, at the times indicated in this section and at other such times as the department may require.

(b) A report shall be required at the time of permit renewal and shall accompany the renewal application. The report shall include the number of acres of affected land and the number of acres reclaimed during the report year.

(c) A report may be required to provide the department with information to be compiled in an annual report relative to the mined land reclamation program. Said report may be requested either during the active operation of the mine, after mining has ceased, or as the land is being reclaimed.

(d) A written termination of mining notice shall be filed within 30 days after such termination of mining.

(e) If the department extends the reclamation period, a report indicating the status of reclamation during such extension, shall be required on a monthly basis unless a longer period is prescribed by the department.