Locating and Identifying Low TDS Strata in Appalachian Soil-Overburden Sequences

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2014
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Virginia Tech. Powell River Project
Abstract

Release of total dissolved solids (TDS) from Appalachian coal mine spoils to headwater streams has emerged as a significant concern for the coal mining industry, its regulatory agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The overall objective of this project is to develop a new set of techniques to reliably predict the amount, ionic composition, and temporal pattern of TDS release from a range of spoil and overlying soil materials from regional coal surface mines. This project was initiated in 2010 with sole support from Powell River Project. Between 2011 and 2013, we received significant parallel funding for this program from the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES) to support our collaboration with the University of Kentucky and West Virginia University to broaden the scope to the central Appalachian region while continuing to focus on SW Virginia in more detail. Therefore, we are utilizing Powell River Project (PRP) funds to focus specifically on the determination of TDS release potentials of soil-saprolite-hard rock sequences in SW Virginia and adjacent counties in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. This information will better allow operators to determine the thickness and availability of low TDS forming strata for use in new and innovative mining and reclamation plans designed to limit TDS release to local streams.

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