Rule of Tennessee Department of Conservation Division of Surface Mining (Tennessee)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

EZFeed Policy

Place Tennessee

Applies to States or Provinces Tennessee
Name Rule of Tennessee Department of Conservation Division of Surface Mining (Tennessee)
Policy Category Other Policy
Policy Type Environmental Regulations, Siting and Permitting
Affected Technologies Coal with CCS
Active Policy Yes

Implementing Sector State/Province

Program Administrator Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Primary Website
Applicable Jurisdiction Statewide

Last Review 2014-09-15

Information Source


The Division of Surface Mining, under the authority of the Department of Environment and Conservation, has established rules specific to the mining of coal. All coal mining operations must first obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPEDS) from the Division of Water Pollution Control (WPC). In addition they must obtain a state mining Surface Mining Permit from the Division of Water Pollution Control, Mining Section (form #CN-1097). The operator of the mine is responsible for submitting an annual report to the WPC.

The following regulations are specific to coal mining operations: All toxic or acid-producing materials shall be properly handled and segregated within the pit. After removal of the coal, the faces of coal seams, the bottom of the pit, and all toxic materials, waste coal, metal, lumber, and other mining refuse shall be covered with spoil to a compacted depth of at least four (4) feet. However, the coal seam may, instead, be covered by a permanent water impoundment if the impoundment is part of the mining and reclamation plan approved by the Commissioner; Any breakthrough to an underground mine must be reported. If any water drains from the underground mine, the Water Quality Control Division of the Department of Public Health and the Knoxville Office of the Surface Mining Division or the Inspector shall be notified as soon as possible, but at least within twenty-four (24) hours, and temporary corrective measures started immediately. No mining, placement of spoil, or associated activity will be permitted within one hundred (100) feet horizontal distance of any stream, except that roads may be constructed within one hundred (100) feet of a stream where such roads are part of the approved mining and reclamation plan and in special circumstances, such as where head-of-hollow fill plans have been approved by the Commissioner; The water flow from the mine area and haul roads shall be controlled to minimize soil erosion, damage to other lands, and pollution of streams or other waters. This may include construction of checks, impoundments, silt-trap dams, and water bars in conjunction with other control measures as required. All sediment control structures shall be constructed according to criteria contained in the Drainage Handbook for Surface Mining provided by the Department of Conservation; The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act of 1970, TCA 70-324 et seq., requires that all runoff or pumped discharges must be covered by a discharge permit from the Division of Water Quality Control if the quality of the water is or may be altered in any way. All discharges or runoff must meet the water quality standards promulgated by the Water Quality Control Division.

Coal operators are allowed to blow up to 1000 vertical feet of fully forested mountaintops as long as they agree to replace them with piles of rock and rubble and sediment ponds. The decision to attempt to grow trees on reclaimed sites in Tennessee is left up to the Federal Office of Surface Mining, on a permit-by-permit basis.

Policy Contact

Department Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Division Mining Section
Address 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN, 37921

Phone 865-594-6035

Department Department of Natural Resources
Division Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
Address South Interior Building, Room 2331951 Constitution Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20240

Phone 202-208-4006



Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: Rule of Tennessee Department of Conservation # 0400-3-7
Date Effective 2000-01-01

Authority 2: Tenn. Code 59
Date Effective 2000-01-01