State files do not always contain adequate information regarding the possibilitythat mine workings exist in minable seams in the basin area.
There were numerous instances where the files lacked detail, containedinconsistencies and indicated that the State inspectors did not have an adequateunderstanding of the details of an impoundment plan.
Previous breakthrough analyses did not appear to take into consideration theprobability that below drainage mines were flooded and could not contain slurryin the event of a breakthrough without expelling potentially contaminated water.As a result of these findings, the WVDEP has agreed to the following:In our continued effort to most conservatively ensure the safety of all dam controlstructures under jurisdiction of our office, WVDEP will require Operators to perform thefollowing:
Provide additional written documentation, certified by a registered professionalengineer, or other qualified person, evaluating and detailing the determination of existing or proposed underground mining within the safety zones and otherproximate areas for embankment and basin areas.
Identify all minable coal seams in the safety zones and other proximate areas
using a seam height of 24 inches or greater to define “minable”. However,
WVDEP may classify seams of lessor height to be minable when information isavailable to indicate mining is likely. This evaluation must also be documentedand certified by a registered professional engineer, or other qualified person.
Evaluate existing or reclaimed slurry impoundments before undergroundworkings are allowed to encroach into the defined breakthrough safety zones toeliminate potential for slurry breakthrough.
Any new permit or revision to existing permits that propose underground mineworkings that will encroach within the footprint of an existing or reclaimed slurryimpoundment or impoundments safety zones shall require the applicant toevaluate the potential breakthrough risk as part of the subsidence control plan.
In cases of facility expansions, evaluate the condition of existing or reclaimedpool areas to assure that any expansion of the refuse or slurry disposal area doesnot increase the risk of breakthrough.
WVDEP will apply the most conservative interpretation so that the prohibition forboth the basin and the embankment apply when the two zones overlap.For existing impoundments, this information will be required at midterm review orrenewal, whichever occurs first. For future impoundments or expansion of existing