30 CFR 823.14 - Soil replacement.
(a) Soil reconstruction specifications established by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service shall be based upon the standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey and shall include, as a minimum, physical and chemical characteristics of reconstructed soils and soil descriptions containing soil-horizon depths, soil densities, soil pH, and other specifications such that reconstructed soils will have the capability of achieving levels of yield equal to, or higher than, those of nomined prime farmland in the surrounding area.
(b) The minimum depth of soil and substitute soil material to be reconstructed shall be 48 inches, or a lesser depth equal to the depth to a subsurface horizon in the natural soil that inhibits or prevents root penetration, or a greater depth if determined necessary to restore the original soil productive capacity. Soil horizons shall be considered as inhibiting or preventing root penetration if their physical or chemical properties or water-supplying capacities cause them to restrict or prevent penetration by roots of plants common to the vicinity of the permit area and if these properties or capacities have little or no beneficial effect on soil productive capacity.
(d) The operator shall replace the B horizon, C horizon, or other suitable material specified in § 823.12(c)(2) to the thickness needed to meet the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section. In those areas where the B or C horizons were not removed but may have been compacted or otherwise damaged during the mining operation, the operator shall engage in deep tilling or other appropriate means to restore pre-mining capabilities.
(e) The operator shall replace the topsoil or other suitable soil materials specified in § 823.12(c)(1) as the final surface soil layer. This surface soil layer shall equal or exceed the thickness of the original surface soil layer, as determined by the soil survey.