(b) Projects near mining or coal refuse sites. -- This article does not apply to a reclamation project or a water pollution abatement project that is located adjacent to, hydrologically connected to or in close proximity to a site permitted under articles two, three or four of this chapter unless:
(1) The reclamation project or water pollution abatement project is submitted to the department in writing before the project is started; and
(2) The department finds:
(A) The reclamation project or the water pollution abatement project will not adversely affect the permittee's obligations under the permit and the applicable law;
(B) The activities on the project work area cannot be used by the permittee to avoid the permittee's reclamation or water pollution treatment or abatement obligations; and
(3) The department issues a written notice of its findings and the approval of the project.
(c) Projects in lieu of civil or administrative penalties. -- This article shall not apply to a reclamation project or a water pollution abatement project that is performed in lieu of paying civil or administrative penalties.