All nonmetallic mining sites subject to this chapter shall be reclaimed in conformance with the standards contained below.
Refuse and other solid wastes. Nonmetallic mining refuse shall be reused in accordance with a reclamation plan. Other solid wastes shall be disposed of in accordance with applicable local ordinances and administrative rules of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources adopted pursuant to Chs. 289 and 291, Wis. Stats.
Area disturbed and contemporaneous reclamation. Nonmetallic mining reclamation shall be conducted, to the extent practicable, to minimize the area disturbed by nonmetallic mining and to provide for nonmetallic mining reclamation of portions of the nonmetallic mining site while nonmetallic mining continues on other portions of the nonmetallic mining site.
Public health, safety and welfare. All nonmetallic mining sites shall be reclaimed in a manner so as to comply with federal, state and local regulations governing public health, safety and welfare.
Habitat restoration. When the post-mining land use requires plant, fish or wildlife habitat, it shall be restored, to the extent practicable, to a condition at least as suitable as that which existed before the lands were affected by mining operations.
Compliance with environmental regulations. Reclamation of nonmetallic mining sites shall comply with any other applicable federal, state and local laws, including those related to environmental protection, zoning and land use control.
Nonmetallic mining reclamation shall be conducted and completed in a manner that assures compliance with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources water quality standards for surface waters and wetlands contained in Chs. NR 102 to NR 105, Wis. Adm. Code. Before disturbing the surface of a nonmetallic mining site and removing topsoil, all necessary measures for diversion and drainage of runoff from the site to prevent pollution of waters of the state shall be installed in accordance with the reclamation plans approved pursuant to this chapter and provisions of Chapter 17 of the Washington County Code. Diverted or channelized runoff resulting from reclamation may not adversely affect neighboring properties.
Groundwater quantity. A nonmetallic mining site shall be reclaimed in a manner that does not cause a permanent lowering of the water table that results in adverse effects on surface waters or a significant reduction in the quantity of groundwater reasonably available for future users of groundwater.
Groundwater quality. Nonmetallic mining reclamation shall be conducted in a manner which does not cause groundwater quality standards in Ch. NR 140, Wis. Adm. Code, to be exceeded at a point of standards application defined in that chapter.
Removal. Topsoil and topsoil substitute material shall be provided as specified in the approved reclamation plan in order to achieve reclamation to the approved post-mining land use. Removal of on-site topsoil and topsoil substitute material removal, when specified in the reclamation plan, shall be performed prior to any mining activity associated with any specific phase of the mining operation.
Volume. The operator shall obtain the volume of soil required to perform final reclamation by removal of on-site topsoil or topsoil substitute material or by obtaining topsoil or substitute material as needed to make up the volume of topsoil as specified in the reclamation plan approved pursuant to this chapter.
Storage. Once removed, topsoil or topsoil substitute material shall, as required by the reclamation plan approved pursuant to this chapter, either be used in contemporaneous reclamation or stored in an environmentally acceptable manner. The location of stockpiled topsoil or topsoil substitute material shall be chosen to protect the material from erosion or further disturbance or contamination. Runoff water shall be diverted around all locations in which topsoil or topsoil substitute material is stockpiled.
All areas affected by mining shall be addressed in the approved reclamation plan, pursuant to § 357-22, to provide that a stable and safe condition consistent with the post-mining land use is achieved. The reclamation plan may designate highwalls or other unmined and undisturbed natural solid bedrock as stable and safe and not in need of reclamation or designate other areas affected by mining, including slopes comprised of unconsolidated materials that exceed a three-to-one slope, whether or not graded, as stable and safe. For slopes designated as stable under this subsection, the regulatory authority may require that either a site-specific engineering analysis be performed by a registered professional engineer to demonstrate that an acceptable slope stability factor is attainable at a steeper slope or the operator perform a field test plot demonstration to demonstrate that a stable and safe condition will be achieved and that the post-mining land use specified in the reclamation plan will not be adversely affected.
Final reclaimed slopes covered by topsoil or topsoil substitute material may not be steeper than a three-to-one horizontal to vertical incline, unless found acceptable through one or more of the following: alternative requirements are approved under § 357-21; steeper slopes are shown to be stable through a field plot demonstration approved as part of an approved reclamation; or stable slopes can be demonstrated based on site-specific engineering analysis performed by a registered professional engineer. All areas in the nonmetallic mine site where topsoil or topsoil substitute material is to be reapplied shall be graded or otherwise prepared prior to topsoil or topsoil substitute material redistribution to provide the optimum adherence between the topsoil or topsoil substitute material and the underlying material.
If the end land use of the mining area includes a permanent water body, it must be constructed to conform with other applicable county standards for artificially constructed water bodies.
Topsoil or topsoil substitute material shall be redistributed in accordance with the reclamation plan approved pursuant to this chapter in a manner which minimizes compaction and prevents erosion. Topsoil or topsoil substitute material shall be uniformly redistributed, except where uniform redistribution is undesirable or impractical. Topsoil or topsoil substitute material redistribution may not be performed during or immediately after a precipitation event until the soils have sufficiently dried.
Except for permanent roads or similar surfaces identified in the reclamation plan approved pursuant to this chapter, all surfaces affected by nonmetallic mining shall be reclaimed and stabilized by revegetation or other means in accordance with the approved reclamation plan and post-mining land use as soon as practicable after mining activity has permanently ceased in any part of the mine site.
In those cases where the post-mining land use specified in the reclamation plan requires a return of the mining site to a premining condition, the operator shall obtain baseline data on the existing plant community for use in the evaluation of reclamation success pursuant to this section.
Revegetation using a variety of plants indigenous to the area is favored.
Intermittent mining may be conducted, provided that the possibility of intermittent cessation of operations is addressed in an operator's reclamation permit, no environmental pollution or off-site sedimentation is occurring, and financial assurance for reclamation pursuant to Article IV is maintained covering all remaining portions of the site that have been affected by nonmetallic mining and that have not been reclaimed.
During the period of the site reclamation, after the operator has stated that reclamation is complete but prior to release of financial assurance, the operator shall perform any maintenance necessary to prevent erosion, sedimentation or environmental pollution, comply with the standards of this article, or to meet the goals specified in the reclamation plan approved pursuant to this chapter.
Alternatives to the standards under §§ 357-12 through 357-18 may be requested and considered as set forth below:
Scope of approvable alternative requirements. An operator of a nonmetallic mining site may request an alternative requirement to the reclamation standard established in this article. The Town and county may approve an alternative requirement to the reclamation standards established in this chapter if the operator demonstrates and the county and Town find that all of the following criteria are met:
The nonmetallic mining site, the surrounding property or the mining plan or reclamation plan has a unique characteristic which requires an alternative requirement.
Unnecessary hardship unique to the nonmetallic mining site or plan will result unless the alternative requirement is approved.
Reclamation in accordance with the proposed alternative requirement will achieve the planned post-mining land use and long-term site stability in a manner that will not cause environmental pollution or threaten public health, safety or welfare.
Request procedures. A request for alternative requirements shall be in writing and submitted in conjunction with an application for a new or modified reclamation permit. The request shall describe how criteria under Subsection A apply to the site.
Decisions. The Town and county shall, within 30 days of receipt of the request, transmit in writing their decision to approve, conditionally approve or deny the request, basing their determination of compliance on the criteria under Subsection A. The written response shall include reasons why the request was or was not approved.
Notice to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. A copy of any written decision by the Town and county on alternative requirements shall be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources within 10 days of issuance.