Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
This subchapter cited in 25 Pa. Code § 87.201 (relating to scope); 25 Pa. Code § 87.204 (relating to application for authorization); 25 Pa. Code § 87.205 (relating to approval or denial); and 25 Pa. Code § 87.206 (relating to operational requirements).
§ 87.1. Definitions.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
AbandonedAny operation where no coal has been produced or overburden removed for a period of 6 months, verified by monthly reports submitted to the Department by the operator and by inspections made by the Department, unless an operator within 30 days after receipt of notification by the Secretary terming an operation abandoned submits sufficient evidence to the Secretary that the operation is in fact not abandoned and submits a timetable satisfactory to the Secretary regarding plans for the reactivation of the operation.
Access roadsRoads located and constructed, reconstructed, improved or maintained for minimal and infrequent use to transport equipment and personnel to current and future activity sites. The term includes the entire area within the right-of-way, including the roadbed, shoulders, parking and side areas, approaches, structures and ditches.
Acid drainageWater with a pH of less than 6.0 and in which total acidity exceeds total alkalinity, discharged from an active, inactive or abandoned surface coal mine and reclamation operation or from an area affected by surface mining activities.
Acid-forming materialsEarth materials that contain sulfide minerals or other materials which, if exposed to air, water or weathering processes, form acids that may create acid drainage.
Adjacent areaLand located outside the permit area, where air, surface or groundwater, fish, wildlife, vegetation or other resources protected by this chapter may be adversely affected by surface mining activities.
Affected areaLand or water upon or in which surface mining activities are conducted or located. The term includes land in which the natural land surface has been disturbed as a result of or incidental to the surface activities of the operator, including, but not limited to, private ways and roads appurtenant to the area, land excavations, workings, refuse banks, spoil banks, culm banks, tailings, repair areas, storage areas, processing areas, shipping areas and areas in which structures, facilities, equipment, machines, tools or other materials or property which result from or are used in, surface mining operations are situated. The term includes the land affected by the construction of new roads or the improvement or substantial use of an existing road to gain access to the site or for hauling from the site.
AquiferA zone, stratum or group of strata that can store and transmit water in sufficient quantities for a specific use.
Auger miningA method of mining coal at a cliff or highwall by drilling holes into an exposed coal seam from the highwall and transporting the coal along an auger bit to the surface.
Best technology currently availableEquipment, devices, systems, methods or techniques which will:
(i) Prevent, to the extent possible, additional contributions of suspended solids to stream flow or runoff outside the permit area, but in no event result in contributions of suspended solids in excess of requirements set by applicable State or Federal laws.
(ii) Minimize, to the extent possible, disturbances and adverse impacts on fish, wildlife and related environmental values, and achieve enhancement of those resources when practicable. The term includes equipment, devices, systems, methods or techniques which are currently available anywhere as determined by the Secretary, even if they are not in routine use. The term includes, but is not limited to, construction practices, siting requirements, vegetative selection and planting requirements, scheduling of activities and design of sedimentation ponds in accordance with this chapter.
BlastA detonation of explosives.
BlastingThe detonation of explosives
Coal processing wasteEarth materials which are separated and wasted from the product coal during cleaning, concentrating or other processing or preparation of coal.
Coal refuseAny waste coal, rock, shale, slurry, culm, gob, boney, slate, clay and related materials, associated with or near a coal seam, which are either brought aboveground or otherwise removed from a coal mine in the process of mining coal or which are separated from coal during the cleaning or preparation operations. Coal refuse shall include underground development wastes, and coal processing wastes, excess spoil, but does not mean overburden from surface mining.
Combustible materialaterial that is capable of burning, either by fire or through oxidation, accompanied by the evolution of heat and a significant temperature rise.
CompactionIncreasing the density of a material by reducing the voids between the particles and is generally accomplished by controlled placement and mechanical effort such as from repeated application of wheel, track or roller loads from heavy equipment.
ContouringReclamation of the land affected to approximate original contour so that it closely resembles the general surface configuration of the land prior to mining and blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the surrounding terrain with no highwall, spoil piles or depressions to accumulate water and with adequate provision for drainage.
CroplandLand used for the production of adapted crops for harvest, alone or in a rotation with grasses and legumes, and includes row crops, small grain crops, hay crops, nursery crops, orchard crops and other similar agronomic and horticultural crops.
DegreeThe inclination from the horizontal.
De minimis cost increaseFor purposes of § 87.119 (relating to hydrologic balance: water rights and replacement), a cost increase which meets one of the following criteria:
(i) Is less than 15% of the annual operating and maintenance costs of the previous water supply that is restored or replaced.
(ii) Is less than $60 per year.
Disturbed areaAn area where vegetation, topsoil or overburden is removed or upon which topsoil, spoil, coal processing waste or noncoal waste is placed by surface coal mining activities. Those areas are classified as disturbed until reclamation is complete and the performance bond or other assurance of performance required by Chapter 86 Subchapter F (relating to bonding and insurance requirements) is released.
DiversionA channel, embankment or other manmade structure constructed at a controlled slope to divert water from one area to another.
DownslopeThe land surface between the projected outcrop of the lowest coalbed being mined along each highwall and a valley floor.
Dry weather flowThe base flow or surface discharge from an area or treatment facility which occurs immediately prior to a precipitation event and which resumes 24 hours after the precipitation event ends.
EmbankmentAn artificial deposit of material that is raised above the natural surface of the land and used to contain, divert or store water, support roads or railways or for other similar purposes.
Ephemeral streamA water conveyance which lacks substrates associated with flowing waters and flows only in direct response to precipitation in the immediate watershed or in response to melting snowpack and which is always above the local water table.
Fugitive dustThat particulate matter not emitted from a duct or stack which becomes airborne due to the forces of wind or surface coal mining activities, or both. During surface coal mining activities, it may include emissions from haul roads; wind erosion of exposed surfaces; storage piles and spoil piles; reclamation operations; and other activities in which material is either removed, stored, transported or redistributed.
Ground coverThe area of ground covered by the combined aerial parts of vegetation and the litter that is produced naturally onsite, expressed as a percentage of the total area of measurement.
GroundwaterAll subsurface waters of the Commonwealth.
Haul roadIncludes the following:
(i) Roads that are planned, designed, located, constructed, reconstructed or improved, utilized and maintained for the transportation of equipment, fuel, personnel, coal, spoil and other operating resources from a public road to points within the surface mine or between principal operations on the mine site or both, but not including roads within the pit or on unreclaimed spoil areas.
(ii) Roads (including public roads) which are constructed, reconstructed, improved, maintained or substantially used as an integral part of the coal mining activities.
(iii) The entire area within the right-of-way, including the roadbed, shoulders, parking and side areas, approaches, structures and ditches.
HighwallThe face of exposed overburden and coal in an open cut of a surface mining activity or for entry to underground mining activities.
Historically used for cropland
(i) Lands that have been used for cropland for any 5 years or more out of the 10 years immediately preceding the acquisition, including purchase, lease or option of the land for the purpose of conducting or allowing, through resale, lease or option, the conduct of surface coal mining activities.
(ii) Lands that the Department determines, on the basis of additional cropland history of the surrounding lands and the lands under consideration, that the permit area is clearly cropland but falls outside the specific 5-years-in-10 criterion. In which case, the regulations from prime farmland may be applied to include more years of cropland history only to increase the prime farmland acreage to be preserved.
(iii) Lands that would likely have been used as cropland for any 5 out of the last 10 years immediately preceding the acquisition, but for the same fact of ownership or control of the land unrelated to the productivity of the land.
Hydrologic balanceThe relationship between the quality and quantity of water inflow to, water outflow from and water storage in a hydrologic unit such as a drainage basin, aquifer, soil zone, lake or reservoir. It encompasses the dynamic relationships among precipitation, runoff, evaporation and changes in groundwater and surface water storage.
Hydrologic regimeThe entire state of water movement in a given area. It is a function of the climate and includes the phenomena by which water first occurs as atmospheric water vapor, passes into a liquid or solid form, falls as precipitation, moves along or into the ground surface, and returns to the atmosphere as vapor by means of evaporation and transpiration.
ImpoundmentA closed basin, naturally formed or artificially built, which is dammed or excavated for the retention of water, sediment or waste.
IncludeIncluding but not limited to.
Intermittent streamA body of water flowing in a channel or bed composed primarily of substrates associated with flowing water, which, during periods of the year, is below the local water table and obtains its flow from both surface runoff and groundwater discharges.
Land useSpecific uses or management-related activities, rather than the vegetation or cover of the land. Land uses may be identified in combination when joint or seasonal uses occur. Changes of land use from one of the following categories to another shall be considered as a change to an alternative land use which is subject to approval by the Department. Land use may be defined as:
(i) Cropland. Includes land used for the production of adapted crops for harvest, alone or in a rotation with grasses and legumes, and includes row crops, small grain crops, hay crops, nursery crops, orchard crops and other similar agronomic and horticultural crops. Land used for facilities in support of cropland farming operations which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included for purposes of these land use categories.
(ii) Pastureland or land occasionally cut for hay. Land used primarily for the long-term production of adapted, domesticated forage plants to be granted by livestock or occasionally cut and cured for livestock feed. Land used for facilities in support of partureland or land occasionally cut for hay which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included.
(iii) Forestland. Land used for the long-term production of wood, wood fiber or wood-derived products; watershed protection; site stabilization and for the production, protection and management of species of fish and wildlife. Land used for facilities in support of forestry and watershed management operations which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included.
(iv) Commercial forestland. Land used and managed primarily for the long-term production of wood, wood fiber or wood-derived products. Land used for facilities in support of forest harvest and management operations which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included.
(v) Residential. Includes single and multiple family housing, mobile home parks and other residential lodgings. Land used for facilities in support of residential operations which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included. Support facilities include, but are not limited to, vehicle parking and open space that directly relate to the residential use.
(vi) Industrial/commercial. Land used for one or more of the following:
(A) Extraction or transformation of materials for fabrication of products, wholesaling of products or for long-term storage of products. This includes heavy and light manufacturing facilities such as lumber and wood processing, chemical manufacturing, petroleum refining and fabricated metal products manufacture. Land used for facilities in support of these operations which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included. Support facilities include, but are not limited to, rail, road and other transportation facilities.
(B) Retail or trade of goods or services, including hotels, motels, stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments. Land used for facilities in support of commercial operations which is adjacent to or an integral part of these operations is also included. Support facilities include, but are not limited to, parking, storage or shipping facilities.
(vii) Recreation. Land used for developed recreation facilities such as parks, camps and other developed recreational uses.
(viii) Fish and wildlife habitat. Land and water used wholly or partially for the production, protection or management of species of fish or wildlife.
(ix) Developed water resources. Includes land used for storing water for beneficial uses such as stockponds, irrigation, fire protection, flood control and water supply.
(x) Unmanaged natural habitat. Idle land which does not require a specific management plan after the reclamation and revegetation have been accomplished.
Mine opening blastingBlasting conducted for the purpose of constructing a shaft, slope, drift or tunnel mine opening for an underground mine, either operating or under development, from the surface down to the point where the mine opening connects with the coal seam to be or being extracted.
Moist bulk densityThe weight of soil (oven dry) per unit volume. Volume is measured when the soil is at field moisture capacity1/3 bar moisture tension. Weight shall be determined after drying the soil at 105° C.
MulchVegetation residue or other suitable materials that are placed on the soil surface to aid in soil stabilization and soil moisture conservation, thus providing microclimatic conditions suitable for seed germination and plant growth.
Noxious plantsSpecies that have been included on official State lists of noxious plants.
OutslopeThe face of the soil or embankment sloping downward from the highest elevation to the toe.
OverburdenThe strata or material overlying a coal deposit or between coal deposits in its natural state and shall mean material before or after its removal by surface mining.
Perennial streamA body of water flowing in a channel or bed composed primarily of substrates associated with flowing waters and is capable, in the absence of pollution or other manmade stream disturbances, of supporting a benthic macroinvertebrate community which is composed of two or more recognizable taxonomic groups of organisms which are large enough to be seen by the unaided eye and can be retained by a United States Standard No. 30 seive (28 meshs per inch, 0.595 mm openings) and live at least part of their life cycles within or upon available substrates in a body of water or water transport system.
Permanent diversionA diversion which is to remain after surface coal mining activities are completed which has been approved for retention by the Department.
Permit areaThe land and water within the boundaries of the permit which are designated on the permit application maps, as approved by the Department. This area includes all areas which are or will be affected by the surface coal mining activities during the term of the permit.
Precipitation eventA quantity of water resulting from drizzle, rain, snow, sleet or hail in a limited period of time. It may be expressed in terms of recurrence interval. As used in this chapter, precipitation event also includes that quantity of water emanating from snow cover as snow melt in a limited period of time.
Prime farmlandThose lands which are defined by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture in 7 CFR 657 (relating to prime and unique farmlands) and which have been historically used for cropland as that phrase is defined in this section.
Recharge capacityThe ability of the soils and underlying materials to allow precipitation and runoff to infiltrate and reach the zone of saturation.
ReclamationThose actions taken to restore the area affected by surface mining activities as required by this chapter.
Recurrence intervalThe interval of time in which a precipitation event is expected to occur once, on the average. For example, the 10-year, 24-hour precipitation event expected to occur on the average once in 10 years.
SMCRAThe Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. § § 1396.11396.19b).
Safety factorThe ratio of the available shear strength to the developed shear stress, or the ratio of the sum of the resisting forces to the sum of the loading or driving forces, as determined by accepted engineering practices.
Sedimentation pondA primary sediment control structure designed, constructed and maintained in accordance with Subchapter E (relating to surface coal mines: minimum environmental protection performance standards) and including but not limited to a barrier, dam or excavated depression which detains water runoff to allow sediment to settle out. A sedimentation pond shall not include secondary sedimentation control structures such as straw dikes, riprap, check dams, mulches, dugouts and other measures that reduce overland flow velocity, reduce runoff volume or trap sediment, to the extent that the secondary sedimentation structures drain to a sedimentation pond.
SlopeAverage inclination of a surface, measured from the horizontal, generally expressed as the ratio of a unit of vertical distance to a given number of units of horizontal distance (for example, 1v:5h). It may also be expressed as a percent or in degrees.
Soil horizonsContrasting layers of soil parallel or nearly parallel to the land surface. Soil horizons are differentiated on the basis of field characteristics and laboratory data. The three major soil horizons are as follows:
(i) A horizon. The uppermost mineral layer, often called the surface soil or topsoil. It is the part of the soil in which organic matter is most abundant, and leaching of soluble salts and soil elements is typically the greatest.
(ii) B horizon. The layer that typically is immediately beneath the A horizon and often called the subsoil. This middle layer commonly contains more clay, iron or aluminum than the A or C horizons.
(iii) C horizon. The deepest layer of soil profile. It consists of loose material or weathered rock that is relatively unaffected by biologic activity and closely resembles the parent material.
Soil surveyA field classification and laboratory analysis resulting in a map showing the geographic distribution of different kinds of soils and an accompanying report that describes, classifies and interprets the soils for use. Soil surveys shall meet the standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey.
SpoilOverburden and reject material that has been removed during surface coal mining operations.
Spoil pileThe overburden and reject minerals as piled or deposited in surface mining.
StabilizeTo reduce movement of soil, spoil piles or areas of disturbed earth by modifying the geometry of the mass, or by otherwise modifying physical or chemical properties, such as by providing a protective surface coating.
Steep slopeA slope of more than 20° or such lesser slope as may be designated by the Department after consideration of soil, climate and other characteristics of the region.
Stratum (strata)A section of geologic formation that consists throughout approximately the same kind of rock material; a stratum may consist of an indefinite number of beds.
SubstratesInorganic sediments which are 0.05 millimeter in diameter or larger, and include sands, granules, pebbles, cobbles and boulders, based on Wentworths Classification.
Surface mining activitiesActivities whereby coal is extracted from the earth or from waste or stock piles or from pits or banks by removing the strata or material which overlies or is above or between the coal or otherwise exposing and retrieving the coal from the surface, including, but not limited to, strip and auger mining, dredging, quarrying and leaching, and surface activity connected with surface or underground mining, including, but not limited to, exploration, site preparation, entry, tunnel, slope, shaft, drift and borehole drilling and construction and activities related thereto. The term does not include portions of mining operations carried out beneath the surface by means of shafts, tunnels or other underground mine openings. The term includes activities in which the land surface has been disturbed as a result of or incidental to surface mining operations of the operator, including, but not limited to, private ways and roads appurtenant to a surface mining operation, land excavations, workings, refuse banks, spoil banks, culm banks, tailings, repair areas, storage areas, processing areas, shipping areas and areas in which facilities, equipment, machines, tools or other materials or property which result from, or are used in, surface mining activities are situated in. The term includes the construction of a road or similar disturbance for any purpose related to a surface mining activity, including that of moving or walking a dragline or other equipment, or for the assembly or disassembly or staging of equipment.
Suspended solidsExpressed as milligrams per liter, means organic or inorganic materials carried or held in suspension in water which are retained by a standard glass fiber filter in the procedure outlined by the regulations of the EPA for waste water and analyses, 40 CFR Part 136 (relating to guidelines establishing test procedures for the analysis of pollutants).
Temporary diversionA diversion of a stream or overland flow which is used during surface coal mining activities and not approved by the Department to remain after reclamation as part of the approved postmining land use.
TerracingGrading where the steepest contour of the highwall may not be greater than 35 degrees from the horizontal, with the table portion of the restored area a nearly level plain without depressions to hold water and with adequate provision for drainage, unless otherwise approved by the Department.
TopsoilThe A soil horizon layer of the three major soil horizons.
Toxic-forming materialsEarth materials or waste which, if acted upon by air, water, weathering or microbiological processes, are likely to produce chemical or physical conditions in soils or water that are detrimental to biota or uses of water.
Water supplyFor the purpose of § 87.47 (relating to alternative water supply information) and § 87.119, an existing or currently designated or currently planned source of water or facility or system for the supply of water for human consumption or for agricultural, commercial, industrial or other uses.
Water supply survey
(i) The collection of reasonably available information for a water supply to establish:
(A) The location, type and use of the water supply.
(B) The chemical and physical characteristics of the water.
(C) The quantity of the water.
(D) The physical description of the water supply, including the depth and diameter of the well, length of casing and description of the treatment and distribution systems.
(E) Hydrogeologic data such as the static water level and yield determination.
(ii) Reasonably available information is information which can be collected without extraordinary effort or the expenditure of excessive sums of money.
Water tableThe upper surface of a zone of saturation, where the body of groundwater is not confined by an overlying impermeable zone.
The provisions of this § 87.1 amended under the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. § § 1396.11396.19b); the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P.S. § § 1406.11406.21); The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. § § 691.1691.1001); section 11 of the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. § 3311); and sections 1917-A and 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. § § 510-17 and 510-20).
The provisions of this § 87.1 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended February 17, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 524, effective August 4, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 2860; amended June 15, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 3383, effective July 27, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 3316; corrected August 21, 1992, effective November 3, 1990, 22 Pa.B. 4316; amended June 25, 1993, effective June 26, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 3075; amended December 15, 1995, effective December 16, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 5821; amended May 8, 1998, effective May 9, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 2215; amended May 8, 1998, effective May 9, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 2227; amended August 8, 2008, effective August 9, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 4355; amended August 21, 2015, effective August 22, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 4904. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (367506) and (335799) to (335807).
§ 87.2. Scope.
This chapter specifies certain specific procedures and rules for those who engage in surface mining activities. General rules and procedures for those who engage in surface mining activities are provided for in Chapter 86 (relating to surface and underground coal mining: general).
The provisions of this § 87.2 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382.
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