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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 12COAL MINING REGULATIONS
SUBCHAPTER GSURFACE COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION OPERATIONS, PERMITS, AND COAL EXPLORATION PROCEDURES SYSTEMS
DIVISION 6SURFACE MINING PERMIT APPLICATIONS--MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR RECLAMATION AND OPERATION PLAN
RULE §12.146Reclamation Plan: Protection of Hydrologic Balance

(a) General requirements. The application shall include a hydrologic reclamation plan, with appropriate maps and descriptions, indicating how the relevant requirements of this chapter (relating to Coal Mining Regulations), including §§12.339-12.341, 12.346, 12.348 and 12.349, and 12.350-12.354 of this title (relating to Hydrologic Balance: General Requirements, to Hydrologic Balance: Water-Quality Standards and Effluent Limitations, to Hydrologic Balance: Diversions, to Hydrologic Balance: Acid-Forming and Toxic-Forming Spoil, to Hydrologic Balance: Ground-Water Protection, to Hydrologic Balance: Surface-Water Protection, to Hydrologic Balance: Surface and Ground-Water Monitoring, to Hydrologic Balance: Transfer of Wells, to Hydrologic Balance: Water Rights and Replacement, to Hydrologic Balance: Discharge of Water Into an Underground Mine, and to Hydrologic Balance: Postmine Rehabilitation of Sedimentation Ponds, Diversions, Impoundments, and Treatment Facilities), will be met. The plan shall be specific to the local hydrologic conditions.

  (1) The plan shall contain the steps to be taken during mining and reclamation through bond release:

    (A) to minimize disturbances to the hydrologic balance within the permit and adjacent areas;

    (B) to prevent material damage outside the permit area;

    (C) to meet applicable federal and state water-quality laws and regulations; and

    (D) to protect the rights of present water users.

  (2) The plan shall specifically address any potential adverse hydrologic consequences identified in the PHC determination prepared under §§12.139-12.154 of this title (relating to Surface Mining Permit Applications--Minimum Requirements for Reclamation and Operation Plan) and shall include preventive and remedial measures. The plan shall identify the measures to be taken to:

    (A) protect the quality of surface- and ground-water systems, both within the proposed permit and adjacent areas, from the adverse effects of the proposed surface mining activities, or to provide alternative sources of water in accordance with §12.130 and §12.352 of this title (relating to Alternative Water Supply Information, and to Hydrologic Balance: Water Rights and Replacement), where the protection of quality cannot be ensured;

    (B) protect or replace the rights of present users of surface and ground water;

    (C) protect the quantity of surface and ground water both within the proposed permit area and adjacent area from adverse effects of the proposed surface mining activities, or to provide alternative sources of water in accordance with §12.130 and §12.352 of this title (relating to Alternative Water Supply Information, and to Hydrologic Balance: Water Rights and Replacement), where the protection of quantity cannot be ensured;

    (D) avoid acid or toxic drainage;

    (E) prevent, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available, additional contributions of suspended solids to streamflow;

    (F) provide water-treatment facilities when needed;

    (G) control drainage; and

    (H) restore approximate premining recharge capacity.

(b) Ground-water monitoring plan.

  (1) The application shall include a ground-water monitoring plan based upon the PHC determination required under subsection (d) of this section and the analysis of all baseline hydrologic, geologic, and other information in the permit application. The plan shall provide for the monitoring of parameters that relate to the suitability of the ground water for current and approved postmine land uses and to the objectives for protection of the hydrologic balance as set forth in subsection (a) of this section. It shall identify the quantity and quality parameters to be monitored, sampling frequency, and site locations. It shall describe how the data may be used to determine the impacts of the operation upon the hydrologic balance. At a minimum, total dissolved solids or specific conductance corrected to 25 degrees C, pH, total iron, total manganese, and water levels shall be monitored and data submitted to the Commission at least every three months for each monitoring location. The Commission may require additional monitoring.

  (2) If the applicant can demonstrate by the use of the PHC determination and other available information that a particular water-bearing stratum in the proposed permit and adjacent areas is not one which serves as an aquifer which significantly ensures the hydrologic balance within the cumulative impact area, then monitoring of that stratum may be waived by the Commission.

(c) Surface-water monitoring plan.

  (1) The application shall include a surface-water monitoring plan based upon the PHC determination required under subsection (d) of this section and the analysis of all baseline hydrologic, geologic, and other information in the permit application. The plan shall provide for the monitoring of parameters that relate to the suitability of the surface water for current and approved postmine land uses, and to the objectives for protection of the hydrologic balance as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, as well as the effluent limitations found at 40 CFR Part 434.

  (2) The plan shall identify the surface-water quantity and quality parameters to be monitored, sampling frequency, and site locations. It shall describe how the data may be used to determine the impacts of the operation upon the hydrologic balance.

    (A) At all monitoring locations in the surface-water bodies such as streams, lakes, and impoundments that are potentially impacted or into which water will be discharged and at upstream monitoring locations, the total dissolved solids or specific conductance corrected to 25 degrees C, total suspended solids, pH, total iron, total manganese, and flow shall be monitored.

    (B) For point-source discharges, monitoring shall be conducted in accordance with 40 CFR Parts 122, 123 and 434 and as required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting authority.

  (3) The monitoring reports shall be submitted to the Commission every three months. The Commission may require additional monitoring.

(d) Probable hydrologic consequences determination.

  (1) The application shall include a determination of the probable hydrologic consequences (PHC) of the proposed operation upon the quality and quantity of surface and ground water under seasonal flow conditions for the proposed permit and adjacent areas.

  (2) The PHC determination shall be based on baseline hydrologic, geologic, and other information collected for the permit application and may include data statistically representative of the site.

  (3) The PHC determination shall include findings on:

    (A) whether adverse impacts may occur to the hydrologic balance;

    (B) whether acid-forming materials are present that could result in the contamination of ground- or surface-water supplies;

    (C) whether toxic-forming materials are present that could result in the contamination of ground- or surface-water supplies;

    (D) whether the proposed operation may proximately result in contamination of an underground or surface source of water within the proposed permit or adjacent areas which is used for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate purpose;

    (E) whether the proposed operation may proximately result in diminution of an underground or surface source of water within the proposed permit or adjacent areas which is used for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate purpose;

    (F) whether the proposed operation may proximately result in interruption of an underground or surface source of water within the proposed permit or adjacent areas which is used for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate purpose;

    (G) what impact the proposed operation will have on:

      (i) sediment yield from the disturbed area;

      (ii) acidity, total suspended and dissolved solids, and other important water-quality parameters of local impact;

      (iii) flooding or streamflow alteration;

      (iv) ground- and surface-water availability; and

      (v) other characteristics as required by the Commission.

  (4) An application for a permit revision shall be reviewed by the Commission to determine whether a new or updated PHC determination shall be required.

  (5) If the PHC determination required by this subsection indicates adverse impacts on or off the proposed permit area may occur to the hydrologic balance, or that acid-forming or toxic-forming material is present that may result in the contamination of ground-water or surface-water supplies, then information supplemental to that required under §12.128 and §12.129 of this title (relating to Ground-Water Information, and to Surface-Water Information) shall be provided to evaluate such probable hydrologic consequences and to plan remedial and reclamation activities. Such supplemental information may be based upon drilling, aquifer tests, hydrogeologic analysis of the water-bearing strata, flood flows, or analysis of other water quality and quantity characteristics. Information shall be provided on water availability and alternative water sources, including the suitability of alternative water sources for existing premining uses and approved postmining land uses.

  (6) If the PHC determination required by this subsection indicates that the proposed mining operation may proximately result in contamination, diminution, or interruption of an underground or surface source of water within the proposed permit or adjacent areas which is used for domestic, agricultural, industrial or other legitimate purpose, then the Commission may require that the applicant provide information supplemental to that required under §12.130 (relating to Alternative Water Supply Information).

(e) Cumulative hydrologic impact assessment.

  (1) The Commission shall provide a probable cumulative hydrologic impacts assessment (CHIA) of the proposed operation and all anticipated mining upon surface- and ground-water systems in the cumulative impact area. The CHIA shall be sufficient to determine, for purposes of permit approval, whether the proposed operation has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area. The Commission may allow the applicant to submit data and analyses relevant to the CHIA with the permit application.

  (2) An application for a permit revision shall be reviewed by the Commission to determine whether a new or updated CHIA shall be required.


Source Note: The provisions of this §12.146 adopted to be effective April 7, 1997, 22 TexReg 3093; amended to be effective November 4, 1997, 22 TexReg 10640; amended to be effective December 28, 2020, 45 TexReg 9503

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