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.

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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
DOI 10.3133/wri864039
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Indiana Water Science Center
Description iv, 29 p. :ill. ;28 cm.
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N