Across the nation, a toxic pollutant turns clean streams orange, kills fish and plant life, and smells like rotten eggs. The culprit is acid mine drainage, the poisonous water leaking from more than 500,000 abandoned and inactive mines in 32 states. The toxic discharge is a problem for operational mines as well. In the Appalachian coal region, for example, acid mine drainage has degraded more than 8,000 miles of streams and has left some aquatic habitats virtually lifeless.
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USGS Unnumbered Series
Biology in focus: better lives through better science: new hope for acid streams