Rock Quarries: Notice of Intent to Comply
Statutory Performance Standards
- Revised: January 2006 (207)-822-6367 DEPLW0338-B2006
The removal of more than 1000 cubic yards of rock from the earth, within 12 successive calendar months, has been regulated under the Site Location of Development Law (Site Law). In April 1996, the Legislature amended this law, creating a new program for regulating rock quarries. This law (P.L. 1996, ch 700) moves the regulation of rock quarries from the Site Law into a performance-based registration system. The law also changes the regulatory threshold for quarries from 1000 cubic yards excavated, per calendar year, to quarries greater than 1 acre in size or those areas where underground production blasting is proposed.
What is the intent of new law?
The law establishes a new procedure to ensure that rock quarries, greater than 1 acre, meet environmental standards. These changes will save applicants the time and expense of filing a permit application with the DEP, while providing standards the excavation activity must meet. Operators that meet all the applicable performance standards do not have to file a complete application. Before beginning the excavation activity, however, operators must file a "notice of intent to comply" on a form provided by the DEP.
What types of standards are linked to the new rules?
The standards for excavations under the program include provisions for:
* Protection of significant wildlife habitat
* Disposal of solid waste (stumps and land clearing debris)
* Groundwater protection
* Natural buffer strips for protected natural resources
* Setbacks for both private and public roads
* Natural buffer strips between the limit of excavation and property boundaries
* Erosion and sedimentation control
* Surface water protection and stormwater management
* Dust Control
What are the eligibility requirements of the law?
To qualify for the new procedure, quarries cannot be located in an unorganized township of the State .
If I am eligible, what is the next step?
Obtain a "Notice of Intent to Comply" package from the DEP.
- (1) Send a copy of "notice form" to each abutting property owner; and
- (2) Send a copy of the completed package to the municipality.
- (3) Send the original to DEP's Augusta office, certified mail/return receipt requested; and
- (4) Send a copy of the completed package to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
- (5) Retain a copy for your records.
Is there any additional information required by DEP?
Yes, a site plan, drawn to scale, of the project site is required. This plan must show the property boundaries, stockpile areas, existing reclaimed and unreclaimed lands, proposed maximum acreage of all affected land, all applicable private and public drinking water supplies and all existing or proposed solid waste disposal areas.
Is there a fee for filing a notice of intent to comply?
Yes, a fee of $250 is required upon filing a Notice of Intent to Comply. The new law also establishes an annual fee requirement so that funding is available to carry out the provisions of the law. The annual fee is due on March 1 st of each year. The annual fee schedule is as follows:
- $400 for operations that extract more than 2500 cubic yards of material during the year; or
- $100 for operations that extract less than 2500 cubic yards per calendar year if the owner or operator provides a signed statement that certifies the amount of material extracted is less than 2500 cubic yards.
When can I begin work?
You must send the Notice of Intent to Comply through certified mail/return receipt requested. After you receive the postal receipt, you may begin the work.
How long is the permit valid?
The permit is valid for the life of the operation provided that you comply with the performance standards.
If I qualify under the program, do I need other permits?
Perhaps. This procedure does not take the place of any other local, state, or federal approvals you may need. In specific cases, activities may require a Natural Resource Protection Act permit , a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or a permit from your local town. Call the DEP (207)287-3901, the Corps (207)623-8367 or your town if there are any questions.
How does the new procedure affect an existing licensed mining activity?
There is a transition provision which allows an operator in possession of a valid Site Location of Development permit for mining activities to file a notice of intent to comply. The permit issued under the Site Law lapses as of the date the notice is filed. All terms and conditions pursuant to the Site Law permit is incorporated into the notice.
What happens if I sell my property?
If the ownership of a quarry licensed under this program changes, the new owner must re-file a notice of intent to comply. A two-week grace period is provided to register the change of ownership.
Are there any provisions for obtaining a variance from the performance standards?
Yes. You can request a variance for: (1) reduced setbacks to a public water supply; (2) an area greater than 10 acres for the working pit; (3) externally drained pits; (4) excavating below the water table; (5) excavating closer than 100 feet to a public road; (6) waiver of the topsoil salvage requirement; (7) increased ground vibrations greater than 2 inches per second; (8) waiver of the monitoring requirements for airblast and ground vibrations; (9) waiver of the number of blasts per day for underground production blasting. A fee of $250 for each variance request is required at the time the variance notice is filed. Variances requested for excavating below the water table and for externally drained pits require a fee of $500. The applicant in a variance request must submit specific information in support of each request showing that the variance will not adversely affect the environment and/ or the health, safety and general welfare of the public. The variance process includes requirements for a public information meeting, a public notice and an appeal process.
Is there a procedure for expanding a rock quarry?
Yes. Before expanding a quarry beyond an area that exceeds 10 acres of reclaimed and unreclaimed land, and for each additional 10-acre expansion, the operator must file a "Notice of Intent to Expand" and must request an inspection from the DEP. Extraction activities may continue after filing this notice. A fee of $250 is required when filing a Notice of Intent to Expand.
Is a pre-blast survey required prior to operating a quarry?
Yes. The pre-blast survey must extend a minimum radius of 2000 feet from the blast site. The survey must document the existing condition of buildings and structures that may be affected by blasting activities.
Are there any provisions for obtaining a waiver from conducting a pre-blast survey?
Yes. A pre-blast survey is not required in the following cases:
- (1) If the owner or operator agrees to design all blast below a certain threshold as determined by the equation W=(D/Ds) 2 (Ds equals 70 ft/lb).
- (2) If the operator documents a rejection of a pre-blast survey offer from an abutter.
- (3) If there are no buildings within 2000 feet of the blast site.
Does the law affect a municipality's authority to regulate quarries?
No, the law does not affect a town's home rule authority to adopt ordinances regulating rock quarries
Can a municipality register for authority to administer the new program for excavations in lieu of the DEP?
Yes, a town can register for authority to administer and enforce the program for regulating quarries. A town must submit, to the DEP, an ordinance that meets or exceeds the statutory provisions of the law. This ordinance is then reviewed by DEP to determine that the ordinance meets the provisions of the law. If the ordinance is accepted, the town is responsible for administering and enforcing the law, except that DEP will continue to review and approve variance requests.
Where do I get additional information?
For more information, contact the Mining Coordinator at the Augusta Office, or a Land & Water Bureau staff member at one of the following DEP regional offices:
Augusta- State House Station #17, Augusta , ME 04333
Bangor - 106 Hogan Road , Bangor , ME 04401
Portland - 312 Canco Drive , Portland , ME 04103
Presque Isle- 1235 Central Drive , Presque Isle , ME 04769