Neutralization Of Acidic Discharges From Abandoned Underground Coal Mines By Alkaline Injection
Description:The hydrologic characteristics of two abandoned underground coal mine sites, near Latrobe, PA, and Uniontown, PA, were investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines for possible implementation of alkaline injection into the mine pools as a means of abating their acid discharges. The Latrobe site was chosen for a one-time application of alkaline injection to achieve a partial, short-term neutralization of a limited portion of the mine pool. A quantity of alkaline reagent (sodium hydroxide) sufficient for a one-time neutralization of the water in this portion of the pool was added. Although nearly all of the neutralizing reagent had moved away from the injection wells within 6 weeks, no evidence of neutralization was noted at the mine discharge during the study period. This lack of neutralization probably occurred because the injection wells did not intercept a primary flow path through the mine. Criteria for successful application of alkaline injection at this or other sites include (1) positive identification of the primary flow paths through the mine pool and (2) addition of quantities of alkaline reagent sufficient to neutralize the entire volume of the pool along the primary flow path.
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