Abandoned surface coal mines in southeastern Ohio have caused degradation of the area's water resources. A study began in 1981 to determine the effects of abandoned-mine reclamation on water quality in the 'Yost tract' near Nelsonville, Ohio. Data on streamflow, water quality, and sedimentation were collected in Yost Run before, during, and after reclamation of the Yost tract.
Results of the study indicate that there has been very little change in the chemical quality of Yost Run 10 months after reclamation; pH remains low, about 3.2-4.1, whereas specific conductance continues to be high, about 1,000 to 2,600 micromhos per centimeter (at 25?) Concentrations of sulfate and dissolved iron also show no appreciable change, remaining about 550 to 1,800 milligrams per liter and 1,300 to 17,000 micrograms per liter, respectively. The suspended-sediment yield for Yost Run is 2,830 tons per square mile per year.
The results of the study reflect water-quality conditions for a 10-month period after reclamation, but do not necessarily indicate that the reclamation will prove to be unsuccessful. A longer period of data collection is likely to be needed to measure trends in water quality that may occur as a result of the reclamation.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of surface coal-mine reclamation on stream quality in a small watershed near Nelsonville, southeastern Ohio