EPCAMR and a team of experts from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PA DEP) Pottsville District Mining Office and Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Pennsylvania Water Science Center, and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) Appalachian Regional Office have been working on a 4-year study of water quantity, quality, and potential usage from underground mines in the Anthracite Coal Region. A majority of this study was funded by a Growing Greener grant from PA DEP and a grant from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. The objective of this project is to determine the immediate and long-term availability (quantity and quality) of mine water resources in the Western Middle and Southern Anthracite Coal Fields of Eastern Pennsylvania.
The project involves the compilation, evaluation, and synthesis of data on the hydrogeology of flooded underground coal mines. Information maintained in paper files by state and federal authorities was digitized and combined with other available data to develop a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) database, containing the locations, topographic elevations, water-level elevations, flow rates, and water quality in wells, boreholes, Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) sources, and associated stream reaches throughout the region. Additional data on the locations of coal outcrops, barrier pillars, and mine boundaries will be included in the GIS database. This data will be evaluated to delineate horizontal and vertical boundaries in order to estimate corresponding current flooded volumes for the major mine pools, also know as Multi-Colliery Hydrogeologic Units (MCHUs). The associated recharge area(s) and primary discharge points for each of the major mine pools will be identified using digital topographic and underground mine maps and aerial photography.
In the Western Middle Coal Field, where large pumping wells are in place and could potentially extract water from the mine pools, USGS produced a groundwater modeling report to estimate hydrologic properties including the recharge, discharge, hydraulic conductivity, and storage in the mine pools. The modeling estimates the draw-down area of influence from large pumping wells, the sustainable discharge volume (specific yield), and the potential effects on associated AMD discharge rates and stream base-flow volumes. Considering the effects of different variables (i.e., hydraulic conductivity, recharge rate, pumping rate) and corresponding outcomes (i.e., mine pool water levels, AMD flow rates, AMD chemistry), the modeling results will help guide the collection of new data in areas where adverse effects could result. That report can be accessed on the USGS webpage.
The full report is available for download below, explaining in detail the hydrogeologic characteristics of each mine pool in the Western Middle Coal Field. The results of the GIS and groundwater resource analysis will be displayed as maps in Appendix A. The results identify the quantity and quality of mine pool water. The maps will be useful to guide land-use managers as well as public and private interests concerned with water availability and economic redevelopment in Pennsylvania’s Southern and Western Middle Coal Fields. EPCAMR plans to continue this work for the Northern and Eastern Middle Coal Fields.
Mine Pool Mapping Report for the Western Middle and Southern Anthracite Coal Fields
Appendix C – Mine Drainage Water Quality Samples Inventory Database [To access the database, contact EPCAMR at (570) 371-3522]
- Final Project Narrative Report (2011)
- 1st, 2nd & 3rd Quarter 2010 Project Narrative
- 3rd & 4th Quarter 2009 Project Narrative
- 2nd Quarter 2009 Project Narrative
- 1st Quarter 2009 Project Narrative
- 3rd & 4th Quarter 2008 Project Narrative
- 2nd Quarter 2008 Project Narrative
- 1st Quarter 2008 Project Narrative
- 4th Quarter 2007 Project Narrative