30 CFR 784.19 - What baseline information on hydrology, geology, and aquatic biology must I provide?

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§ 784.19 What baseline information on hydrology, geology, and aquatic biology must I provide?

(a)

(1)General requirements. Your permit application must include information on the hydrology, geology, and aquatic biology of the proposed permit area and the adjacent area in sufficient detail to assist in -

(i) Determining the probable hydrologic consequences of the proposed operation upon the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater in the proposed permit and adjacent areas, as required under § 784.20 of this part.

(ii) Determining the nature and extent of both the hydrologic reclamation plan required under § 784.22 of this part and the monitoring plans required under § 784.23 of this part.

(iii) Determining whether reclamation as required by this chapter can be accomplished.

(iv) Preparing the cumulative hydrologic impact assessment under § 784.21 of this part, including an evaluation of whether the proposed operation has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area.

(v) Preparing the subsidence control plan under § 784.30 of this part.

(2)Core baseline water-quality data requirements for surface water and groundwater. You must provide the following water-quality information for each groundwater and surface-water sample collected for baseline data purposes.

Parameter Surface water Groundwater
pH Yes Yes.
Specific conductance corrected to 25 °C (conductivity) Yes Yes.
Total dissolved solids Yes Yes.
Total suspended solids Yes No.
Hot acidity Yes Yes.
Total alkalinity Yes Yes.
Major anions (dissolved), including, at a minimum, bicarbonate, sulfate, and chloride Yes Yes.
Major anions (total), including, at a minimum, bicarbonate, sulfate, and chloride Yes No.
Major cations (dissolved), including, at a minimum, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium Yes Yes.
Major cations (total), including, at a minimum, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium Yes No.
Cation-anion balance of dissolved major cations and dissolved major anions Yes Yes.
Any cation or anion that constitutes a significant percentage of the total ionic charge balance, but that was not included in the analyses of major anions and major cations Yes Yes.
Iron (dissolved) Yes Yes.
Iron (total) Yes No.
Manganese (dissolved) Yes Yes.
Manganese (total) Yes No.
Selenium (dissolved) Yes Yes.
Selenium (total) Yes No.
Any other parameter identified in any applicable National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, if known at the time of application for the SMCRA permit Yes No.
Temperature Yes Yes.

(b)Groundwater information -

(1)General requirements. Your permit application must include information sufficient to document seasonal variations in the quality, quantity, and usage of groundwater, including all surface discharges, within the proposed permit and adjacent areas.

(2)Underground mine pools. If an underground mine pool is present within the proposed permit or adjacent areas, you must prepare an assessment of the characteristics of the mine pool, including seasonal changes in quality, quantity, and flow patterns, unless you demonstrate, and the regulatory authority finds, that the mine pool would not be hydrologically connected to the proposed operation. The determination of the probable hydrologic consequences of mining required under § 784.20 of this part also must include a discussion of the effect of the proposed mining operation on any underground mine pools within the proposed permit and adjacent areas.

(3)Monitoring wells. The regulatory authority must require the installation of properly-screened monitoring wells to document seasonal variations in the quality, quantity, and usage of groundwater.

(4)Groundwater quality descriptions. Groundwater quality descriptions must include baseline information on the parameters identified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and any additional parameters that the regulatory authority determines to be of local importance.

(5)Groundwater quantity descriptions. At a minimum, groundwater quantity descriptions must include baseline data documenting seasonal variations in -

(i) The areal extent and saturated thickness of all potentially-impacted aquifers; and

(ii) Approximate rates of groundwater discharge or usage and the elevation of the water table or potentiometric head in -

(A) Each water-bearing coal seam to be mined.

(B) Each aquifer above each coal seam to be mined.

(C) Each potentially-impacted aquifer below the lowest coal seam to be mined.

(6)Groundwater sampling requirements.

(i) You must establish monitoring wells or equivalent monitoring points at a sufficient number of locations within the proposed permit and adjacent areas to determine groundwater quality, quantity, and movement in each aquifer above or immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined. At a minimum, for each aquifer, you must locate monitoring points -

(A) Upgradient and downgradient of the proposed permit area;

(B) Upgradient and downgradient of the area encompassed by the angle of dewatering; and

(C) Within the proposed permit area and the area overlying the proposed underground workings.

(ii)

(A) To document seasonal variations in groundwater quality and quantity, you must collect samples and take the measurements identified in paragraph (b)(5) of this section from each location identified in paragraph (b)(6)(i) of this section at approximately equally-spaced monthly intervals for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.

(B) If approved by the regulatory authority, you may modify the interval or the 12-consecutive-month requirement specified in paragraph (b)(6)(ii)(A) of this section if adverse weather conditions make travel to a location specified in paragraph (b)(6)(i) of this section hazardous or if the water at that location is completely frozen.

(C) In lieu of the frequency specified in paragraph (b)(6)(ii)(A) of this section, the regulatory authority may allow you to collect data quarterly for 2 years. The regulatory authority may initiate review of the permit application after collection and analysis of the first four quarterly groundwater samples, but it may not approve the application until after receipt and analysis of the final four quarterly groundwater samples.

(D) You must analyze the samples collected in paragraph (b)(6)(ii)(A) of this section for the applicable water quality parameters identified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and any other parameters specified by the regulatory authority.

(iii) You must provide the Palmer Drought Severity Index for the proposed permit and adjacent areas for the initial baseline data collection period under paragraph (b)(6)(ii) of this section. The regulatory authority may extend the minimum data collection period specified in paragraph (b)(6)(ii) of this section whenever data available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or similar databases indicate that the region in which the proposed operation is located experienced severe drought or abnormally high precipitation during the initial baseline data collection period.

(c)Surface-water information -

(1)General requirements. Your permit application must include information sufficient to document seasonal variation in surface-water quality, quantity, and usage within the proposed permit and adjacent areas.

(2)Surface-water quality descriptions. Surface-water quality descriptions must include baseline information on the parameters identified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and any additional parameters that the regulatory authority determines to be of local importance.

(3)Surface-water quantity descriptions.

(i) At a minimum, surface-water quantity descriptions for perennial and intermittent streams within the proposed permit and adjacent areas must include baseline data documenting -

(A) Peak-flow magnitude and frequency.

(B) Actual and anticipated usage.

(C) Seasonal flow variations.

(D) Seepage-run sampling determinations, if you propose to deploy a longwall panel beneath a perennial or intermittent stream or employ other types of full-extraction mining methods beneath a perennial or intermittent stream. You must take the seepage-run measurement during both low-flow and high-flow conditions. The seepage-run measurement must extend to the full length of the stream that would be affected by the mining operation.

(ii) All flow measurements under paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section must be made using generally-accepted professional techniques approved by the regulatory authority. All techniques must be repeatable and must produce consistent results on successive measurements. Visual observations are not acceptable.

(4)Surface-water sampling requirements.

(i) You must establish monitoring points at a sufficient number of locations within the proposed permit and adjacent areas to determine the quality and quantity of water in perennial and intermittent streams within those areas. At a minimum, you must locate monitoring points -

(A) Upgradient and downgradient of the proposed permit area in each perennial and intermittent stream within the proposed permit and adjacent areas; and

(B) Upgradient and downgradient of the area encompassed by the angle of dewatering in all potentially affected perennial and intermittent streams.

(ii)

(A) To document seasonal variations in surface-water quality and quantity, you must collect samples and take the measurements identified in paragraph (c)(3) of this section from each location identified in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section at approximately equally-spaced monthly intervals for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.

(B) If approved by the regulatory authority, you may modify the interval or the 12-consecutive-month sampling requirement specified in paragraph (c)(4)(ii)(A) of this section if adverse weather conditions make travel to a location specified in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section hazardous or if the water at that location is completely frozen.

(C) You must analyze the samples collected under paragraph (c)(4)(ii)(A) of this section for the applicable parameters identified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and any other parameters specified by the regulatory authority. (iii) You must provide the Palmer Drought Severity Index for the proposed permit and adjacent areas for the initial baseline data collection period under paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section. The regulatory authority may extend the minimum data collection period specified in paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) and (iii) of this section whenever data available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or similar databases indicate that the region in which the proposed operation is located experienced severe drought or abnormally high precipitation during the initial baseline data collection period.

(5)Precipitation measurements.

(i) You must provide records of precipitation amounts for the proposed permit area, using on-site, self-recording devices.

(ii) Precipitation records must be adequate to generate and calibrate a hydrologic model of the site. The regulatory authority will determine whether you must create such a model.

(iii) At the discretion of the regulatory authority, you may use precipitation data from a single self-recording device to provide baseline data for multiple permits located close to each other.

(6)Stream assessments. (i)(A) You must map and separately identify all perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams within the proposed permit area and all perennial and intermittent streams within the adjacent area.

(B) The map must show the location of the channel head of each stream identified in paragraph (c)(6)(i)(A) of this section whenever the applicable area includes a terminal reach of the stream.

(C) The map must show the location of transition points from ephemeral to intermittent and from intermittent to perennial (and vice versa, when applicable) for each stream identified in paragraph (c)(6)(i)(A) of this section whenever the applicable area includes such a transition point. If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined the location of a transition point, your application must be consistent with that determination.

(ii)

(A) For all perennial and intermittent streams within the proposed permit area, you must describe the baseline stream pattern, profile, and dimensions, with measurements of channel slope, sinuosity, water depth, alluvial groundwater depth, depth to bedrock, bankfull depth, bankfull width, width of the flood-prone area, and dominant in-stream substrate at a scale and frequency adequate to characterize the entire length of the stream within the proposed permit area.

(B) You must describe the general stream-channel configuration of ephemeral streams within the proposed permit area.

(iii) For all perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams within the proposed permit area, you must describe the vegetation growing along the banks of each stream, including -

(A) Identification of any hydrophytic vegetation located within or adjacent to the stream channel.

(B) The extent to which streamside vegetation consists of trees and shrubs.

(C) The percentage of channel canopy coverage.

(D) A scientific calculation of the species diversity of the vegetation.

(iv) You must identify all stream segments within the proposed permit and adjacent areas that appear on the list of impaired surface waters prepared under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1313(d). You must identify the parameters responsible for the impaired condition and the total maximum daily loads associated with those parameters, when applicable.

(v) For all perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams within the proposed permit area and for all perennial and intermittent streams within the adjacent area, you must identify the extent of wetlands adjoining the stream and describe the quality of those wetlands.

(vi) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, you must provide an assessment of the biological condition of -

(A) Each perennial stream within the proposed permit area.

(B) Each perennial stream within the adjacent area that could be affected by the proposed operation.

(C) Each intermittent stream within the proposed permit area, if a scientifically defensible protocol has been established for assessment of intermittent streams in the state or region in which the stream is located.

(D) Each intermittent stream within the adjacent area that could be affected by the proposed operation, if a scientifically defensible protocol has been established for assessment of intermittent streams in the state or region in which the stream is located.

(vii) When determining the biological condition of a stream under paragraph (c)(6)(vi) of this section, you must adhere to a bioassessment protocol approved by the state or tribal agency responsible for preparing the water quality inventory required under section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1315(b), or to other scientifically defensible bioassessment protocols accepted by agencies responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1251et seq., modified as necessary to meet the following requirements. The protocol must -

(A) Be based upon the measurement of an appropriate array of aquatic organisms, including, at a minimum, benthic macroinvertebrates, identified to the genus level where possible, otherwise to the lowest practical taxonomic level.

(B) Result in the calculation of index values for both stream habitat and aquatic biota based on the reference condition.

(C) Provide index values that correspond to the capability of the stream to support its designated aquatic life uses under section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1313(c).

(D) Include a quantitative assessment of in-stream and riparian habitat condition.

(E) Describe the technical elements of the bioassessment protocol, including but not limited to sampling methods, sampling gear, index period, sample processing and analysis, and quality assessment/quality control procedures.

(viii) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, you must describe the biology of each intermittent stream within the proposed permit area, and each intermittent stream within the adjacent area that could be affected by the proposed operation, whenever an assessment of the biological condition of those streams is not required under paragraph (c)(6)(vi) of this section. When obtaining the data needed to prepare this description, you must -

(A) Sample each stream using a scientifically defensible sampling method or protocol established or endorsed by an agency responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1251et seq.;

(B) Identify benthic macroinvertebrates to the genus level where possible, otherwise to the lowest practical taxonomic level; and

(C) Describe the technical elements of the sampling protocol, including but not limited to sampling methods, sampling gear, index period, sample processing and analysis, and quality assessment/quality control procedures.

(d)Additional information for discharges from previous coal mining operations. If the proposed permit and adjacent areas contain any point-source discharges from previous surface or underground coal mining operations, you must sample those discharges during low-flow conditions of the receiving stream on a one-time basis. You must analyze the samples for the surface-water parameters identified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and for both total and dissolved fractions of the following parameters -

(1) Aluminum.

(2) Arsenic.

(3) Barium.

(4) Beryllium.

(5) Cadmium.

(6) Copper.

(7) Lead.

(8) Mercury.

(9) Nickel.

(10) Silver.

(11) Thallium.

(12) Zinc.

(e)Geologic information.

(1) Your application must include 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 that may be adversely impacted by mining. The description must include -

(i) The areal and structural geology of the proposed permit and adjacent areas.

(ii) Other parameters that influence the required reclamation.

(iii) An explanation of how the areal and structural geology may affect the occurrence, availability, movement, quantity, and quality of potentially impacted surface water and groundwater.

(iv) The composition of the bed of each perennial and intermittent stream within the proposed permit and adjacent areas, together with a prediction of how that bed would respond to subsidence of strata overlying the proposed underground mine workings and how subsidence would impact streamflow.

(2) The description required by paragraph (f)(1) of this section must be based on all of the following -

(i) The cross-sections, maps, and plans required by § 783.24 of this chapter.

(ii) The information obtained under paragraphs (e)(3) through (5) of this section.

(iii) Geologic literature and practices.

(3) For any portion of the proposed permit area in which the strata down to the coal seam to be mined will be removed or are already exposed, you must collect and analyze samples from test borings; drill cores; or fresh, unweathered, uncontaminated samples from rock outcrops, 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 that may be adversely impacted by mining. Your application must include the following data and analyses:

(i) Logs showing the lithologic characteristics, including physical properties and thickness, of each stratum, and the location of any groundwater encountered.

(ii) Chemical analyses identifying those strata that may contain acid-forming materials, toxic-forming materials, or alkalinity-producing materials and the extent to which each stratum contains those materials.

(iii) Chemical analyses of all coal seams for acid-forming or toxic-forming materials, including, but not limited to, total sulfur and pyritic sulfur.

(4) For lands within the permit and adjacent areas where the strata above the coal seam to be mined will not be removed, you must collect and analyze samples from test borings or drill cores. Your application must include the following data and analyses:

(i) Logs showing the lithologic characteristics, including physical properties and thickness, of each stratum that may be impacted, and the location of any groundwater encountered.

(ii) Chemical analyses of those strata immediately above and below the coal seam to be mined to identify whether and to what extent each stratum contains acid-forming materials, toxic-forming materials, or alkalinity-producing materials.

(iii) Chemical analyses of the coal seam for acid-forming or toxic-forming materials, including, but not limited to, total sulfur and pyritic sulfur.

(iv) For standard room-and-pillar mining operations, the thickness and engineering properties of clays or soft rock such as clay shale, if any, in the strata immediately above and below each coal seam to be mined.

(5) You must provide any additional geologic information and analyses that the regulatory authority determines to be necessary to protect the hydrologic balance, to minimize or prevent subsidence, or to meet the performance standards of this chapter.

(6) You may request the regulatory authority to waive the requirements of paragraphs (e)(3) and (4) of this section, in whole or in part. The regulatory authority may grant the waiver request only after finding in writing that the collection and analysis of that data is unnecessary because other representative information is available to the regulatory authority in a satisfactory form.

(f)Cumulative impact area information.

(1) You must obtain the hydrologic, geologic, and biological information necessary to assess the impacts of both the proposed operation and all anticipated mining on surface-water and groundwater systems in the cumulative impact area, as required by § 784.21 of this part, from the appropriate federal or state agencies, to the extent that the information is available from those agencies.

(2) If the information identified as necessary in paragraph (f)(1) of this section is not available from other federal or state agencies, you may gather and submit this information to the regulatory authority as part of the permit application. As an alternative to collecting new information, you may submit data and analyses from nearby mining operations if the site of those operations is representative of the proposed operations in terms of topography, hydrology, geology, geochemistry, and method of mining.

(3) The regulatory authority may not approve the permit application until the information identified as necessary in paragraph (f)(1) of this section has been made available to the regulatory authority and the regulatory authority has used that information to prepare the cumulative hydrologic impact assessment required by § 784.21 of this part.

(g)Exception for operations that avoid streams. Upon your request, the regulatory authority may waive the biological information requirements of paragraphs (c)(6)(vi) through (viii) of this section if you demonstrate, and if the regulatory authority finds in writing, that your operation will not -

(1) Mine through or bury a perennial or intermittent stream;

(2) Create a point-source discharge to any perennial, intermittent, or ephemeral stream; or

(3) Modify the base flow of any perennial or intermittent stream.

(h)Coordination with Clean Water Act agencies. The regulatory authority will make best efforts to -

(1) Consult in a timely manner with the agencies responsible for issuing permits, authorizations, and certifications under the Clean Water Act;

(2) Minimize differences in baseline data collection points and parameters; and

(3) Share data to the extent practicable and consistent with each agency's mission, statutory requirements, and implementing regulations.

(i)Corroboration of baseline data. The regulatory authority must either corroborate a sample of the baseline information in your application or arrange for a third party to conduct the corroboration at your expense. Corroboration may include, but is not limited to, simultaneous sample collection and analysis, visual observation of sample collection, use of field measurements, or comparison of application data with application or monitoring data from adjacent operations.

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 16 - CONSERVATION
U.S. Code: Title 30 - MINERAL LANDS AND MINING

Title 30 published on 2015-10-21

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 30 CFR Part 784 after this date.

  • 2016-12-20; vol. 81 # 244 - Tuesday, December 20, 2016
    1. 81 FR 93066 - Stream Protection Rule
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
      Final rule.
      This rule is effective January 19, 2017.
      30 CFR Parts 700, 701, 773, 774, 777, 779, 780, 783, 784, 785, 800, 816, 817, 824, and 827