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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 14-718


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

[44 Pa.B. 2133]
[Saturday, April 5, 2014]

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces the 2014 bond rate guidelines for anthracite and bituminous coal mining operations. These rates become effective April 5, 2014. The authority for bonding coal mining operations is found under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1—691.1001), the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. §§ 1396.1—1396.19b), the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act (52 P. S. §§ 30.51—30.66) and 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 Document 563-2504-001, ''Conventional Bonding for Land Reclamation—Coal,'' which is available on the Department's web site at The document is being revised to include the procedures for bonding sites where the operator wants to delay activation and to change the frequency of the bond liability review from annually to upon permit renewal, with an option to review the liability during the permit midterm. These revisions become effective April 5, 2014. As part of eliminating the annual bond review, the Department needed to develop a procedure to inflate the bond over the life of the permit to account for cost increases. The resulting process relies on the Bureau of Labor's Consumer Price Index for Northeast Urban areas. The Department calculated the rate of inflation using the Consumer Price Index (Northeast Urban) from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, averaged for the calendar years 2009-2013, resulting in a rate of 1.67%. This rate of inflation will be used in calculating bond amounts for permit renewal or permit midterm bond liability reviews from April 5, 2014, through April 4, 2015.

 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 midterm of a permit and before approving a permit revision.

 These bond rate guidelines do not apply to bonds ensuring replacement of water supplies under section 3.1(c) of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. § 1396.3a(c)) or to bonds ensuring compliance with the requirements of The Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P. S. §§ 1406.1—1406.21).

General Methodology

 The Department developed the bond rate guidelines for 2014 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 1998-2013. For most categories, a 3-year (2011-2013) average was used to calculate the guidelines. Some categories required another approach due to limited data. For example, there were no contracts in 2012 or 2013 that included selective grading. Therefore, a 4-year average was used for the 2014 selective grading bond rate.

 In general, the costs for a given unit operation for each year are determined using the weighted average of the three lowest total bids for each contract. However, grading costs were calculated using a frequency distribution in combination with the weighted averages.

 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 like Means Building Construction Cost Data or Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.

 The fees associated with the Land Maintenance Bond Program are presented in Table 3. There has been no change in these rates for 2014.

 The bond rate guidelines are available electronically at For background information and supporting documentation regarding bonding rate guidelines, contact the Bureau of Mining Programs, Division of Permitting 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. Mine sealing and borehole sealing bond rate guidelines remain the same for 2014.

Effective Date

 The bond rate guidelines in this notice become effective April 5, 2014.

Table 1

Standard Bond Rate Guidelines
For Year 2014

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 0.90
Grading (>=500-foot push/haul) Cubic Yard 1.20
Selective Grading Acre 1,075.00
Revegetation Acre 1,800.00
Tree Planting Tree 0.15
Ditch Excavation Cubic Yard 7.00
Jute Matting Square Yard 3.80
High Velocity Erosion Control Square Yard 3.80
AASHTO No. 1 Ton 29.00
AASHTO No. 57 Ton 30.00
R3 Rock Lining Square Yard 33.00
R4 Rock Lining Square Yard 25.00
R5 Rock Lining Square Yard 25.00
Geotextile/Filter Fabric Square Yard 2.80
PVC Lining1 Square Yard 12.00
Subsurface Drain Lineal Foot 19.00
Erosion and Sedimentation
Control (Temporary Installation)
Job Lump sum
(5% of direct costs for site)
Pond Removal Active Phase2 Pond 3,800.00
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 500.00
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond
Cropland Area-Row Crops
(includes seed cost)
Acre 780.00
Stage 3 Mobilization Job 2,500.00
Pond Removal-Stage 3 Cubic Yards
(Embankment Volume)
Plus Top Soiling and
Revegetation Cost
Use <500 Grading for Pond
Embankment Volume Plus
Top Soiling 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.

Table 2

Mine Sealing Bond Rate Guidelines
For Year 2014

Sealing Bituminous Underground Mine Drift and Slope Openings

Unit Operation Unit Measure Unit Costs ($)
Concrete Work Cubic yard 128.00
Masonry Work Square foot 11.00
Fill Material & Earthwork3 Cubic yard 23.00
Security Fencing Lineal foot 29.00
Mobilization Cost Job 5% of Total Amount
Sealing Bituminous Underground Mine Shaft Openings
Concrete Material Cubic Yard 96.00
Aggregate Material Cubic Yard 27.00
Fill material and Earthwork3 Cubic Yard 4.00
Security Fencing Lineal Foot 29.00
Mobilization Cost Job 5% of Total Amount

Sealing Boreholes at Bituminous Underground Mines

Dimension Minimum Cost Per Hole ($) Unit Cost ($) Per Lineal Foot
12 Inch or Less Diameter 1,500 5.50
Larger Than 12 Inch Diameter 2,000 5.50

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, for example, Means Estimating Handbook or Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.

Table 3

Land Maintenance Financial Guarantee Fees
For Year 2014

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


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-718. Filed for public inspection April 4, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]

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