Mine Fire Diagnostics and Implementation of Water Injection With Fume Exhaustion at Renton, PA
Description:U.S. Bureau of Mines research to develop diagnostic methods to locate and evaluate fires in abandoned mines and waste banks and techniques to extinguish such fires was applied to an abandoned 60-acre underground bituminous coal mine (Renton, Allegheny County, PA) to locate and extinguish three separated fire zones. Mine fire diagnostics interpret changes from baseline values in subsurface pressures, temperatures, and mine gas composition under imposed pressure gradients induced by a borehole exhaust fan. The effective gas sampling area surrounding each borehole is greatly enlarged. Sampling iterations, using a "communicating" boreholes set, provide "fire signature" information for locating both heated and cold areas. Time-dependent monitoring differentiates heating and cooling periods resulting from combustion front movement and/or fire extinguishment activities. A water injection with fume exhaustion extinguishment effort involved injecting water through boreholes to quench the heated zones while exhaust fans actively removed heated gases from the mine. The technique was ineffective as implemented, primarily because of inadequate spreading of water from the injection points. The Bureau's diagnostic method determined the fire locations and the effectiveness of the water injection with fume exhaustion extinguishment technique.
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