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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
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Decommissioning and Reclamation Requirements and Activities

Detailed descriptions of decommissioning and reclamation activities associated with a proposed project are needed to assess the residual impacts remaining after project activities cease.

All energy projects have a useful lifespan and will at some point cease operations. Of course, project upgrades and maintenance can greatly extend the period of operation of most facilities. Decommissioning refers to the removal of project structures and facilities after the project ceases operations. Reclamation refers to those activities that are used to return the site to a stable condition that approximates pre-disturbance conditions. Like construction, these activities tend to occur over a relatively short term.

The impacts of decommissioning and reclamation depend on many specific details. For assessment purposes, provide a comprehensive detailed description of decommissioning and reclamation. Include the following in descriptions of decommissioning and reclamation activities and requirements:

  • Facilities and structures to be removed;
  • Facilities and structures to remain in place including below ground structures;
  • Hazardous materials cleanup requirements;
  • Grading plan and surface drainage restoration plan;
  • Topsoil replacement and revegetation plan;
  • Post-reclamation site management provisions;
  • Protected areas and setbacks;
  • Decommissioning and reclamation schedule including any scheduling of activities to avoid impacts to protected ecological resources (e.g., nesting birds);
  • Utility requirements and how they will be met;
  • Fencing requirements;
  • Outdoor lighting requirements;
  • Surface water and wetland protection provisions;
  • Groundwater protection plan;
  • Erosion, fugitive dust, and surface water runoff controls (including stormwater control features);
  • Energy, water, and material needs;
  • Sources, intensity, and schedule of noise-producing activities;
  • Decommissioning and reclamation processes and associated air and water emissions;
  • Hazardous materials to be used and spill prevention plan;
  • Waste streams (with full characterization of constituents), volumes, and management plan;
  • Decommissioning and reclamation workforce and housing requirements, if any;
  • Decommissioning and reclamation time frame (complete duration and schedule of activities and workforce);
  • Protocols for ecological, cultural, and paleontological resource protection; and
  • Protocols for nonnative invasive species prevention and control.