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Modeled impacts of surface coal mining on dissolved solids in the Tongue River, southeastern Montana

Water-Resources Investigations Report 81-64

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Abstract

A computer model has been developed for spatial and temporal simulation of streamflow and dissolved solids in the Tongue River from the Tongue River Dam to Miles City, Montana. User-defined plans of surface coal mining and agricultural development permit evaluation of potential changes in dissolved solids resulting from leaching of overburden material used to backfill mine pits and from withdrawal and return flow of irrigation water. Provision is made for simulation runs using increased streamflow from a proposed larger reservoir intended to replace the present Tongue River Reservoir. Simulations at mean streamflow indicated that mining 119,600 acres of federally leased coal tracts may increase by 4.8 percent the present annual dissolved-solids concentration in the Tongue River at Miles City. Simulations using the proposed Tongue River reservoir show substantial reductions in dissolved-solids concentration when paired with similar simulations using the present Tongue River Reservoir. When compared on a per-acre basis for the study area, the dewatering caused by irrigation increases dissolved-solids concentration more than the input of leachates from surface coal-mining operations. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Modeled impacts of surface coal mining on dissolved solids in the Tongue River, southeastern Montana
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
81-64
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1981
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division,
Description:
v, 73 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.