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Characterization and Effectiveness of Remining Abandoned Coal Mines in Pennsylvania
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2010
Filetype[PDF - 4.36 MB]


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  • Description:
    Under an approved remining program, mine operators can remine abandoned coal mines without assuming legal responsibility for treatment of the previously degraded water, as long as the discharging waters are not further degraded and other regulatory requirements are satisfied. A U.S. Bureau of Mines review of 105 remining permits in Pennsylvania indicates that remining results in substantial reclamation of abandoned mine lands, utilization of significant quantities of coal, and reduction of contaminant loads (acidity and iron) from degraded mine drainage discharges. Normality tests performed on the water quality and flow data indicate generally nonnormal distributions and extreme right-skewness, tending toward lower values. The water quality of underground coal mines was observed to be more highly degraded in terms of acidity, iron, and sulfate than that of surface coal mines. The optimum baseline sampling scenario is 12 months in duration at a frequency of one sample per month. Analysis of water quality and flow rates before and after remining indicates that a majority of the mines exhibited either no change or a significant decrease in pollution rate because of remining. The discharge flow rate was the dominant controlling factor when the post-remining contaminant load was significantly better or worse than the baseline (pre-remining) load.

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