30 CFR § 816.102 - Backfilling and grading: General requirements.

§ 816.102 Backfilling and grading: General requirements.

(a) Disturbed areas shall be backfilled and graded to -

(1) Achieve the approximate original contour, except as provided in paragraph (k) of this section;

(2) Eliminate all highwalls, spoil piles, and depressions, except as provided in paragraph (h) (small depressions) and in paragraph (k)(3)(iii) (previously mined highwalls) of this section;

(3) Achieve a postmining slope that does not exceed either the angle of repose or such lesser slope as is necessary to achieve a minimum long-term static safety factor of 1.3 and to prevent slides;

(4) Minimize erosion and water pollution both on and off the site; and

(5) Support the approved postmining land use.

(b) Spoil, except excess spoil disposed of in accordance with §§ 816.71 through 816.74, shall be returned to the mined-out area.

(c) Spoil and waste materials shall be compacted where advisable to ensure stability or to prevent leaching of toxic materials.

(d) Spoil may be placed on the area outside the mined-out area in nonsteep slope areas to restore the approximate original contour by blending the spoil into the surrounding terrain if the following requirements are met:

(1) All vegetative and organic material shall be removed from the area.

(2) The topsoil on the area shall be removed, segregated, stored, and redistributed in accordance with § 816.22.

(3) The spoil shall be backfilled and graded on the area in accordance with the requirements of this section.

(e) Disposal of coal processing waste and underground development waste in the mined-out area shall be in accordance with §§ 816.81 and 816.83, except that a long-term static safety factor of 1.3 shall be achieved.

(f) Exposed coal seams, acid- and toxic-forming materials, and combustible materials exposed, used, or produced during mining shall be adequately covered with nontoxic and noncombustible material, or treated, to control the impact on surface and ground water in accordance with § 816.41, to prevent sustained combustion, and to minimize adverse effects on plant growth and the approved postmining land use.

(g) Cut-and-fill terraces may be allowed by the regulatory authority where -

(1) Needed to conserve soil moisture, ensure stability, and control erosion on final-graded slopes, if the terraces are compatible with the approved postmining land use; or

(2) Specialized grading, foundation conditions, or roads are required for the approved postmining land use, in which case the final grading may include a terrace of adequate width to ensure the safety, stability, and erosion control necessary to implement the postmining land-use plan.

(h) Small depressions may be constructed if they are needed to retain moisture, minimize erosion, create and enhance wildlife habitat, or assist revegetation.

(i) Permanent impoundments may be approved if they meet the requirements of §§ 816.49 and 816.56 and if they are suitable for the approved postmining land use.

(j) Preparation of final-graded surfaces shall be conducted in a manner that minimizes erosion and provides a surface for replacement of topsoil that will minimize slippage.

(k) The postmining slope may vary from the approximate original contour when -

(1) The standards for thin overburden in § 816.104 are met;

(2) The standards for thick overburden in § 816.105 are met; or

(3) Approval is obtained from the regulatory authority for -

(i) Mountaintop removal operations in accordance with § 785.14 of this chapter;

(ii) A variance from approximate original contour requirements in accordance with § 785.16 of this chapter; or

(iii) Incomplete elimination of highwalls in previously mined areas in accordance with § 816.106.

[48 FR 23368, May 24, 1983, as amended at 48 FR 41734, Sept. 16, 1983; 81 FR 93392, Dec. 20, 2016; 82 FR 54979, Nov. 17, 2017]