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Bleeder Systems In Underground Coal Mines; Handbook For Methane Control In Mining
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    In This Chapter [Designing bleeder systems Examining and maintaining bleeder systems Evaluating bleeder system effectiveness] INTRODUCTION Bleeder systems are that part of the mine ventilation network used to ventilate pillared areas in underground coal mines. Pillared areas are those in which pillars have been wholly or partially removed, including the areas where coal has been extracted by longwall mining. Bleeder systems protect miners from the hazards associated with methane and other gases, dusts and fumes, and oxygen deficiency that may occur in these mined-out areas. Effective bleeder systems control the air passing through the area and continuously dilute and move any methane-air mixtures and other gases, dusts, and fumes from the worked-out area away from active workings and into a return air course or to the surface of the mine. A bleeder system includes the pillared area (including the internal airflow paths), bleeder entries, bleeder connections, and all associated ventilation control devices that control the air passing through the pillared area. Bleeder entries are special air courses designed and maintained as part of the mine ventilation system. [This chapter focuses on the design, examination, maintenance, and evaluation of bleeder systems in underground coal mines.] The history of coal mine explosions in the United States is a reminder of the importance of adequate ventilation. Some of those disasters were the result of inadequately ventilated pillared areas. The importance of developing bleeder systems to ventilate these pillared areas and evaluating the bleeder system’s effectiveness is reflected in present-day federal regulations. For more information on bleeder systems, see Tisdale [1996] and Urosek and Francart [2002].

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