This report presents data on the first 3 years of a 5-year study of the effects of longwall coal mining on six streams near a mining complex in Meigs, Gallia, and Vinton Counties, Ohio. Longwall coal mining is method of underground mining in which 75 to 90 percent of the coal is removed; conventional methods, such as room-and-pillar mining, remove only about 50 percent of the coal. Use of the longwall method is expected to increase in Ohio. Collapse or subsidence of the overburden and land surface occurs immediately after the removal of the coal. Such collapse can disrupt surface drainage and the recharge of ground water.
The data include streamflow, water quality, and the abundance and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish. The data were collected from eight sites on six streams from July 1987 through September 1989. The drainage areas of these sites range from 2.04 to 80.8 square miles and include the major drainages of the area being mined.
Total precipitation in 1987 and 1988 in the study area was 78 and 81 percent, respectively, of the annual average (from 1939 to 1989) of 39.59 inches. The total precipitation in 1989 was 135 percent of the annual average. Streams at six of the eight sites were dry for parts of the first 2 years.
Specific conductance ranged from 180 to 3,500 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius, pH ranged from 6.9 to 8.0, and the concentration of total recoverable iron ranged from 80 to 1,800 micrograms per liter. Macroinvertebrate and fish populations indicate a warmwater-habitat rating of fair to good according to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency standards.
This information will help provide a data base from which the effects of longwall mining on streams in southern Ohio can be evaluated. Correlations of surface-water quality and quantity with longwall mining were not attempted in this study.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Streamflow, water-quality, and biological data on streams in an area of longwall coal mining, southern Ohio, water years 1987-89
U.S. Geological Survey ;
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