Section 880-X-10C-.40 - Coal Mine Waste: Refuse Piles (Alabama Administrative Code)

§ 880-X-10C-.40. Coal Mine Waste: Refuse Piles

Refuse piles shall meet the requirements of Section 880-X-10C-.38, the additional requirements of this section, and the requirements of 30 CFR 77.214 and 30 CFR 77.215.

(1) Drainage control.

(a) If the disposal area contains springs, natural or manmade water courses, or wet weather seeps, the design shall include diversions and underdrains as necessary to control erosion, prevent water infiltration into the disposal facility and ensure stability.

(b) Uncontrolled surface drainage may not be diverted over the outslope of the refuse piles. Runoff from the areas above the refuse pile shall be diverted into stabilized diversion channels designed to meet the requirements of Section 880-X-10C-.14 to safely pass the runoff from a 100-year, 6-hour precipitation event. Runoff diverted from undisturbed areas need not be co-mingled with runoff from the surface of the refuse pile.

(c) Underdrains shall comply with the requirements of Section 880-X-10C-.36(7).

(2) Surface area stabilization. Slope protection shall be provided to minimize surface erosion at the site. All disturbed areas, including diversion channels that are not riprapped or otherwise protected, shall be revegetated upon completion of construction.

(3) Placement.

(a) Coal mine waste shall be spread in layers no thicker than 24 inches, except that the State Regulatory Authority may approve layers exceeding 24 inches in thickness where engineering data substantiates that a minimum safety factor of 1.5 for the refuse pile will be attained.

(b) All vegetative and organic materials shall be removed from the disposal area prior to placement of coal mine waste. Topsoil shall be removed, segregated and stored or redistributed in accordance with Section 880-X-10C-.07 and Section 880-X-10C-.11. If approved by the Regulatory Authority, organic material may be used as mulch, or may be included in the topsoil to control erosion, promote growth of vegetation or increase the moisture retention of the soil.

(c) The final configuration of the refuse pile shall be suitable for the approved postmining land use. Terraces may be constructed on the outslope of the refuse pile if required for stability, control or erosion, conservation of soil moisture, or facilitation of the approved postmining land use. The grade of the outslope between terrace benches shall not be steeper than 2h:lv (50 percent).

(d) No permanent impoundments shall be allowed on the completed refuse pile. Small depressions may be allowed by the Regulatory Authority if they are needed to retain moisture, minimize erosion, create and enhance wildlife habitat, or assist revegetation, and if they are not incompatible with stability of the refuse pile.

(e) Following final grading of the refuse pile, the coal mine waste shall be covered with a minimum of 4 feet of the best available, nontoxic and noncombustible material, in a manner that does not impede drainage from the underdrains. The Regulatory Authority may allow less than 4 feet of cover material based on physical and chemical analyses which show that the requirements of Section 880-X-10C-.58 and Section 880-X-10C-.62 will be met.

(4) Inspections. A qualified registered professional engineer, or other qualified professional specialist under the direction of the professional engineer, shall inspect the refuse pile during construction. The professional engineer or specialist shall be experienced in the construction of similar earth and waste structures.

(a) Such inspections shall be made at least quarterly throughout the construction and during critical construction periods. Critical construction periods shall include at a minimum:

1. Foundation preparation including the removal of all organic material and topsoil;

2. Placement of underdrains and protective filter systems;

3. Installation of final surface drainage systems; and

4. The final graded and revegetated facility. Regular inspections by the engineer or specialist shall also be conducted during placement and compaction of coal mine waste materials. More frequent inspections shall be conducted if a danger of harm exists to the public health and safety or the environment. Inspections shall continue until refuse pile has been finally graded and revegetated or until a later time as required by the Regulatory Authority.

(b) The qualified registered professional engineer shall provide a certified report to the Regulatory Authority promptly after each inspection that the refuse pile has been constructed and maintained as designed and in accordance with the approved plan and this chapter. The report shall include appearances of instability, structural weakness, and other hazardous conditions.

(c) The certified report on the drainage system and protective filters shall include color photographs taken during and after construction, but before underdrains are covered with coal mine waste. If the underdrain system is constructed in phases, each phase shall be certified separately. The photographs accompanying each certified report shall be taken in adequate size and number with enough terrain or other physical features of the site shown to provide a relative scale to the photographs and to specifically and clearly identify the site.

(d) A copy of each inspection report shall be retained at or near the minesite.

Author: Randall C. Johnson

(Original Filed November 14, 1989; effective: March 7, 1991. Amended: September 12, 1991; effective June 10, 1992. Amended: Filed March 25, 1997; effective April 29, 1997.)

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, § 9-16-71, et seq.

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