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Theoretical technique for predicting the cumulative impact of iron and manganese oxidation in streams receiving discharge from coal mines

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4039

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Abstract

Two U.S. Geological Survey computer programs are modified and linked to predict the cumulative impact of iron and manganese oxidation in coal-mine discharge water on the dissolved chemical quality of a receiving stream. The coupled programs calculate the changes in dissolved iron, dissolved manganese, and dissolved oxygen concentrations; alkalinity; and, pH of surface water downstream from the point of discharge. First, the one-dimensional, stead-state stream, water quality program uses a dissolved oxygen model to calculate the changes in concentration of elements as a function of the chemical reaction rates and time-of-travel. Second, a program (PHREEQE) combining pH, reduction-oxidation potential, and equilibrium equations uses an aqueous-ion association model to determine the saturation indices and to calculate pH; it then mixes the discharge with a receiving stream. The kinetic processes of the first program dominate the system, whereas the equilibrium thermodynamics of the second define the limits of the reactions. A comprehensive test of the technique was not possible because a complete set of data was unavailable. However, the cumulative impact of representative discharges from several coal mines on stream quality in a small watershed in southwestern Indiana was simulated to illustrate the operation of the technique and to determine its sensitivity to changes in physical, chemical, and kinetic parameters. Mine discharges averaged 2 cu ft/sec, with a pH of 6.0, and concentrations of 7.0 mg/L dissolved iron, 4.0 mg/L dissolved manganese, and 8.08 mg/L dissolved oxygen. The receiving stream discharge was 2 cu ft/sec, with a pH of 7.0, and concentrations of 0.1 mg/L dissolved iron, 0.1 mg/L dissolved manganese, and 8.70 mg/L dissolved oxygen. Results of the simulations indicated the following cumulative impact on the receiving stream from five discharges as compared with the effect from one discharge: 0.30 unit decrease in pH, 1.82 mg/L increase in dissolved iron, 1.50 mg/L increase in dissolved manganese, and 0.24 mg/L decrease in dissolved oxygen concentration. (Author 's abstract)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Theoretical technique for predicting the cumulative impact of iron and manganese oxidation in streams receiving discharge from coal mines
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
86-4039
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1986
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
iv, 29 p. :ill. ;28 cm.