The Technical Services Units primary responsibilities are:
- the technical review of applications and issuance of Coal Surface Mining Operation permits (CSMO);
- the investigation of water loss, subsidence, and blasting complaints, which may be related to mining activity;
- the review and/or design of plans for Abandoned Mine Land and bond forfeiture reclamation projects;
- the maintenance of computer and mapping databases; and
- numerous other special investigations and projects.
Agronomy, blasting, ecology, engineering, geology, hydrology, mapping and other areas of technical expertise are used to accomplish these varied tasks. The Technical Services Unit also coordinates many activities with other state and federal agencies having joint jurisdictional concerns. These agencies include the >Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, >Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, >Office of Surface Mining, U.S.A. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
During the permit application review process, the Technical Services Unit works with applicants and their consultants to ensure proposed coal mining activity can be conducted in an environmentally sound manner in compliance with the Virginia Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations (VCSMRR) and the Virginia Coal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1979, Chapter 19, Title 45.1 of the Code. Technical Services staff, with assistance from the Reclamation Services Unit, conduct field reviews, evaluate permit application plans, check applicant violator system data to determine permit eligibility, conduct public meetings and respond to comments, and finally, make a determination to either issue a permit or deny the application. DMMEs Division of Mined Land Reclamation (DMLR) issues a joint CSMO and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. A standard application form is utilized to allow electronic permitting to be conducted.
Technical Investigation of Potential
The Technical Services Unit assists the Reclamation Services and Abandoned Mine Land Units in investigating potential mine-related problems including, but not limited to, water loss and degradation of water supplies, landslides, subsidence damage to land or structures, and impact to streams. If problems are found to be coal mining related, all three Units work together to address remediation as required by the law and regulations.
Design and Engineering Assistance
The Technical Services Unit also assists the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Unit in the reclamation of sites adversely impacted by coal mining activities. These include pre-law AML sites and bond forfeiture sites. Technical Services review proposed reclamation plans prepared by consultants and prepares in-house designs for some reclamation projects.
Maintenance of Databases
Technical Services maintains DMME/DMLR databases pertaining to permitting and other activities. Data input for digital map layers and associated tables include permit boundaries, water monitoring points (stream, ground water, NPDES, and rainfall), AML inventory, and technical complaint investigations. Some data is directly input from electronic permit applications.
Special Projects and
Technical Services provides technical expertise on a variety of special investigations and projects. Several major ongoing projects include addressing acid mine drainage that has impacted threatened and endangered species of mussels in the mainstream of the North Fork of the Powell River in Lee County, Virginia. Beginning with two watershed enhancement projects, Ely Creek (Lee County) and Black Creek (Wise County), work is expanding to the larger Powell River Ecosystem Enhancement Project. On this project, DMME is working in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For additional information contact (276) 523-8175 or e-mail.