74-53. Reclamation plan.

The operator shall submit with his application for an operating permit a proposed reclamation plan. Said plan shall include as a minimum, each of the elements specified in the definition of "reclamation plan" in G.S. 74-49, plus such other information as may be reasonably required by the Department. The reclamation plan shall provide that reclamation activities, particularly those relating to control of erosion, shall to the extent feasible be conducted simultaneously with mining operations and in any event be initiated at the earliest practicable time after completion or termination of mining on any segment of the permit area. The plan shall provide that reclamation activities shall be completed within two years after completion or termination of mining on each segment of the area for which a permit is requested unless a longer period is specifically permitted by the Department.

The Department may approve, approve subject to stated modifications, or reject the plan which is proposed. The Department shall approve a reclamation plan (as submitted or as modified) only where it finds that it adequately provides for those actions necessary to achieve the purposes and requirements of this Article, and that in addition, the plan meets the following minimum standards:

(1) The final slopes in all excavations in soil, sand, gravel, and other unconsolidated materials shall be at such an angle as to minimize the possibility of slides and be consistent with the future use of the land.

(2) Provisions for safety to persons and to adjoining property must be provided in all excavations in rock.

(3) At open pit mining operations, all overburden and spoil shall be left in a configuration which is in accordance with accepted conservation practices and which is suitable for the proposed subsequent use of the land.

(4) In no event shall any provision of this section be construed to allow small pools of water that are, or are likely to become, noxious, odious, or foul to collect or remain on the mined area. Suitable drainage ditches or conduits shall be constructed or installed to avoid such conditions. Lakes, ponds, and marsh lands shall be considered adequately reclaimed lands when approved by the Department.

(5) The type of vegetative cover and methods of its establishment shall be specified, and in every case shall conform to accepted and recommended agronomic and reforestation restoration practices as established by the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Environmental Quality. Advice and technical assistance may be obtained through the State soil and water conservation districts.

The Department shall be authorized to approve a reclamation plan despite the fact that such plan does not provide for reclamation treatment of every portion of the affected land, where the Department finds that because of special conditions such treatment would not be feasible for particular areas and that the plan takes all practical steps to minimize the extent of such areas. (1971, c. 545, s. 8; 1973, c. 1262, s. 86; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; 1989, c. 727, s. 218(14); 1991, c. 342, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a); 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)