Stream water during fair weather (base flow) is largely ground water discharge, which has been in contact with minerals of the underlying aquifer. Base flow water quality should therefore reflect aquifer mineralogy as well as upstream land use. Three upstream mining categories (unmined lands, abandoned coal mines, and reclaimed coal mines) differed in pH, specific conductance, sulfate, iron, aluminum, and alkalinity for 122 streams in eastern Ohio. Aquifer rock type influenced pH, specific conductance, sulfate, iron, and alkalinity. Reclamation returned many components of acid mine drainage to near unmined levels, although sulfate and specific conductance were not improved. Acid mine drainage problems were less severe in watersheds underlain by the calcareous Monongahela Formation. These results should apply to other Appalachian coal regions having similar rock units. Refs.
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Mine drainage and rock type influences on eastern Ohio stream water quality