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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 07-359


Calculation of Land Reclamation Bonds on Coal Mining Operations; Notice of Bond Rate Guidelines

[37 Pa.B. 1093]
[Saturday, March 3, 2007]

   The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces the 2007 bond rate guidelines for anthracite and bituminous coal mining operations. These rates become effective April 1, 2007. The authority for bonding coal mining operations is found under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1--691.001), the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. §§ 1396.1--1396.19a), the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act (52 P. S. §§ 30.51--30.66) and the regulations promulgated thereunder at 25 Pa. Code Chapter 86, Subchapter F (relating to bonding and insurance requirements). The unit costs listed in these guidelines will be used in calculating the land reclamation bonds for surface coal mining operations including, surface mines, coal refuse disposal sites, coal refuse reprocessing sites, coal processing facilities and the surface facilities of underground mining operations. The procedures for calculating land reclamation bonds are described in technical guidance 563-2504-001, ''Conventional Bonding for Land Reclamation--Coal,'' which is available on the Department's website, at the Public Participation Center page.

   The Department may review the adequacy of bonds on existing permits based on the bond rate guidelines at any time. The Department will conduct these reviews before issuing permit renewals. The Department may conduct similar reviews at the mid-term of a permit and before approving a permit revision.

   The bond rate guidelines do not apply to bonds assuring replacement of water supplies under section 3.1(c) of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. § 1391.3a(c)) or to bonds ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (see 37 Pa.B. 1097 (March 3, 2007)) for rates to be used for calculating Long-Term Operation and Maintenance Cost Bonds for Water Supply Replacement--Mining Operations.

General Methodology

   The Department developed the bond rate guidelines for 2007 from the unit costs for competitively bid contracts for mine reclamation. Contract bid data is available for various unit operations needed to complete reclamation of a mine site for the years 1998-2006. For most categories, the Department used a 3-year (2004-2006) average to calculate the guidelines. Some categories required another approach due to limited data. For example, there were no contracts in 2004 or 2005 that included R3 rock used for channel lining. Therefore, the Department used a four-year average for R3 Rock Lining.

   In general, the bond rate for a given unit operation is the weighted average of the three lowest total bids for each contract. However, grading costs were calculated using the number of bids at a cost per cubic yard frequency distributionand a weighted total number of yards at a cost per cubic yard frequency distribution, in combination with the averages and a cost trend analysis.

   In the event that a unit operation necessary to calculate a reclamation bond is not listed in Tables 1 or 2, then any additional cost information available will be used. If enough data is still not available, the rate will be set from a standard reference such as ''Means Building Construction Cost Data'' or ''Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.''

MRAB Recommendations

   On the suggestion of the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board (MRAB), the Department also calculated actual costs to the Commonwealth for grading using the winning bid (lowest total bid) costs averaged for the past 3 years. The calculated costs for the less than 500 foot push ($0.65) and the greater than 500 foot push/haul ($0.95) are consistent with the most recent bond rate guidelines for these unit operations.

   The MRAB endorsed the 2007 Bond Rate Guidelines with the understanding that the Department would work with the MRAB to ensure the 2008 Bond Rate Guidelines are reflective of conventionally bonded mine sites. There is some concern that reclamation costs for long-abandoned mine sites are not always representative of conventionally bonded mine sites. The Department will meet with the MRAB periodically to review the current reclamation cost data. The Department will also strive to alert coal mine operators in advance whenever bond rate guidelines are projected to increase.

   The fees associated with the Land Maintenance Bond Program are presented in Table 3. There has been no change in these rates for 2007.

   The bond rate guidelines are available electronically at For background information and supporting documentation regarding bonding rate guidelines, contact Bruce Carl, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Division of Monitoring and Compliance, P. O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461, (717) 787-5103,

Mine Sealing Costs

   The mine sealing bond rate guidelines are presented in Table 2. These guidelines remain the same as in previous years. Review of the contract data for mine sealing projects reveals that they are designed and bid on a volume and material basis. The Department is re-evaluating these bond rate guidelines and expects to publish revised mine sealing bond rate guidelines later in 2007. The Department anticipates developing bond rate guidelines for boreholes.

Effective Date

   The bond rate guidelines in this notice become effective April 1, 2007.


Standard Bond Rate Guidelines
For Year 2007

Unit Operation Unit Measure Unit Costs ($)
Mobilization/demobilization Job 4% of direct costs or $40,000,
whichever is less
Grading (< 500-foot push) cubic yard 0.75
Grading (>= 500-foot push/haul) cubic yard 1.10
Selective Grading Acre 1,600.00
Revegetation Acre 1,480.00
Tree Planting Tree 0.15
Ditch Excavation cubic yard 5.00
Jute Matting square yard 3.00
High Velocity Erosion Control square yard 2.80
R3 Rock Lining square yard 18.00
R4 Rock Lining square yard 23.75
R5 Rock Lining square yard 19.00
Geotextile/Filter Fabric square yard 2.00
PVC Lining1 square yard 10.00
Subsurface Drain lineal foot 12.00
Erosion and Sedimentation Control (Temporary Installation) Job Lump sum
(5% of direct costs for site)
Pond Removal Active Phase2 Pond 3,800.00
Erosion and Sedimentation Control (Temporary Installation) Job Lump sum
(5% of direct costs for site)
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond Non-Cropland Areas (Land uses where crop yields are not required) Acre 100.00
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond Cropland (not row crops) Pastureland or Land occasional cut for hay (excludes seed cost) Acre 575.00
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond Cropland Area-Row Crops (includes seed cost) Acre 800.00
Stage 3 Mobilization Job 2,500.00
Pond Removal-Stage 3 Cubic yards
(Embankment volume)
Plus Topsoiling and Revegetation Cost
Use <500 grading for pond embankment volume plus Topsoiling and Revegetation cost for the area disturbed
Ditch Removal-Stage 3 Lineal Foot 0.75
Equipment Tire Removal and Disposal Tire 300.00
Structure Demolition Costs will be calculated using costs listed in the construction industry's latest annual cost publications, such as ''Means Building Construction Cost Data.''


Mine Sealing Bond Rate Guidelines
For Year 2007

shaft (10 ft. or less diameter)   1,400.00
Mine Sealing3
shaft (11 to 15 ft. diameter)   3,000.00
Nonhydraulic shaft seal--inert fill shaft (16 to 20 ft. diameter)   4,500.00
shaft (21 to 25 ft. diameter)   8,000.00
shaft (10 ft. or less diameter)   7,600.00
Mine Sealing3
shaft (11 to 15 ft. diameter)   9,200.00
Hydraulic shaft seal w/bulkhead shaft (16 to 20 ft. diameter) 10,700.00
shaft (21 to 25 ft. diameter) 14,200.00
Mine Sealing3
Non-hydraulic drift/slope seal
Mine Sealing3
Hydraulic drift/slope seal

   1 Typically used for lining of ponds or ditches crossing fill material.

   2 Unit cost not from BAMR bids, includes dewatering, grading, topsoil placement and revegetation.

   3 Mine sealing costs are minimum costs. Additional costs per mine seal will be assessed based on specific design criteria, such as the thickness of the seal and the volume of backfill material required, using appropriate material, equipment, and labor costs from BAMR bid abstracts or from an industry-standard cost estimation publications, such as, Means Estimating Handbook or Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.


Land Maintenance Financial Guarantee Fees
For Year 2007

Fee Category Fee ($)
Publication $1,000.00
Administrative     $300.00


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 07-359. Filed for public inspection March 2, 2007, 9:00 a.m.]

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