Contemporaneous Reclamation – Backfilling and Grading the Spoil

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Reclamation is required while coal removal continues nearby.  Backfilling and grading operations are usually the first activities to occur in the reclamation process. These operations reestablish a stable land surface and configuration consistent with the needs of the post-mining land use identified in the permit.  The inspector must evaluate the progress of backfilling and grading operations during inspections. (VIP 5) As demonstrated in the McKinley mine site example shown in the figure below, high-resolution imagery can be used to determine the length of the ungraded spoil area.  In this case, the permit limits the amount of ungraded spoil to 1200 linear feet during mining.  The ungraded spoil peaks measure 1483 linear feet showing the mine out of compliance.  

Backfilling and grading distance measurement at the McKinley Mine siteBackfilling and grading distance measurement at the McKinley Mine site.