CGDA Projects
  
  
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Evaluation of bench-scale acid mine drainage (AMD) bioremediation tests: Water-quality monitoring and data interpretation

Issue

Low-volume flows of highly acidic water seep from abandoned and reclaimed coal mines at many locations in southwestern Indiana. The water contains high concentrations of sulfate and toxic metals. These seeps are a significant source of pollution in surface water of the region.

Objective

This research is designed to treat these seeps so that the concentration of acidity, sulfate, and toxic metals is much reduced or eliminated.

Contact: Tracy Branam (tbranam@indiana.edu)



Hydrochemical evaluation and predictive modeling of sulfate-reducing bioreactor cells

Issue

Anaerobic wetlands have proven to be effective at reducing contaminant loads in acidic mine drainage (AMD) through the attenuation mechanisms of precipitation and sorption, but the construction of wetlands is limited by size requirements, flow volume, and contaminant concentrations. Anoxic limestone drains (ALD) have been utilized to generate alkalinity within an AMD stream, but chemical composition and concentrations of AMD limit their use. The sulfate-reducing bioreactor cell (SRBC) combines the treatment features of both wetlands and ALDs with fewer constraints. They can be sized to fit smaller treatment areas and can treat low-flow, highly acidic, and mineralized waters. A combination of organic substrate and agricultural limestone provides a medium in which AMD is neutralized immediately upon entering the cell, followed by oxygen depletion by aerobic bacteria. This allows sulfate-reduction by anaerobic bacteria that fixes metals and generates alkalinity. As the limestone and organic substrate are depleted, the neutralization and oxidation-reduction fronts advance through the cell.

Objective

The goal of the research project is to evaluate and model the performance and longevity of SRBCs for the passive remediation of AMD.

Publications and Websites

Hydrology and Water Quality Associated With The Midwestern Reclamation Site (Site No. 1087) Pike County, Indiana

Contact: Tracy Branam (tbranam@indiana.edu)



Indiana Contribution to the National Geothermal Data System

Issue

The objective of the project is to facilitate the search for sources of renewable geothermal energy.

Objective

State-specific geothermal data will be compiled into an integrated, distributed, and searchable national data system, referred to as the "National Geothermal Data System."

Contact: Shawn Naylor (snaylor@indiana.edu)



Investigation of groundwater in abandoned underground coal mines

Issue

More than 190,000 acres of Indiana are underlain by abandoned underground coal mines. Many of these mines are flooded, representing a high-yield aquifer that may contain as much as 170 billion gallons of water. Although this aquifer is potentially of significant value for a variety of purposes, little is known about the quality of water within it, the mechanisms of its recharge, the hydrodynamics of individual mine pools, and the mechanisms of its discharge.

Objective

Increase public awareness and interest in the potential use of underground mine waters as a geothermal resource, a groundwater resource, and a mine-reclamation resource.

Contact: Tracy Branam (tbranam@indiana.edu)



Monitoring and modeling a large-scale experiment to change the direction of groundwater flow at the Blackfoot reclamation site in Pike County, Indiana

Issue

The Blackfoot Reclamation Site in Pike County, Indiana, contains a large and chronically contaminated seepage zone that is perennially discharging acid mine drainage (AMD) into a tributary of the Patoka River.

Objective

In an effort to ameliorate the problem, personnel of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation (IDNR-DOR) are planning a large-scale experiment to change the direction of groundwater flow away from the seepage area and toward an area where it will encounter alkaline spoils prior to discharging at the surface. The study combines detailed hydrologic monitoring with groundwater flow modeling to evaluate, optimize, and diagnose all the reasons why the reclamation strategy does or does not succeed. The project will commence prior to any reclamation activities but will continue through and after the period of hydrologic manipulation so that a thorough evaluation can be accomplished.

Publications and Websites

Groundwater flow modeling of an abandoned mine lands site scheduled for reclamation
Waddle, R.C., and Olyphant, G.A., 2010, Groundwater flow modeling of an abandoned mine lands site scheduled for reclamation. Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation (ASMR), Pittsburgh, PA, June 5-11, 2010.

Contact: Jack Haddan (jhaddan@indiana.edu)



Monitoring and Modeling a Large-Scale Experiment to Change the Direction of Groundwater Flow at the Blackfoot Reclamation Site in Pike County: Part 2 Assessing the Efficacy of Reclamation that Includes the Construction of a Large Wetland/Bioreactor System

Issue

Ongoing work by CGDA personnel, which is being conducted in cooperation with personnel of the IDNR-DOR, on bioreactor systems in southern Indiana has placed the group at the forefront of the scientific community’s efforts to optimize the utility of these promising treatment systems.

Objective

The project will involve a continuation of hydrochemical monitoring with much emphasis placed on the evaluation of the performance of a large wetland/bioreactor system that is being designed to treat acid mine drainage that is discharging from a valley located within this abandoned mine land site.

Contact: Tracy Branam (tbranam@indiana.edu)



Potential karst development areas in the Hoosier National Forest

Issue

Management of the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana needs to take into consideration not only known areas of existing karst development, but also areas that have high probabilities of sinkhole development.

Objective

Identify both existing areas of karst development in the Hoosier National Forest, along with identification of the spatial distribution of areas with high probabilities of karst or sinkhole development.

Contact: Sally Letsinger (sletsing@indiana.edu)



Rates and Controls on Toxic Metal Leaching from Coal-Combustion Residues Utilized as Structural Fills in Reclamation Settings: Emphasis on the Midwestern AML Site

Issue

Previous investigations of toxic metal occurrence in ground and surface waters at the Midwestern AML Site have documented the sporadic occurrence of trace element concentrations in ground and surface water samples over time.

Objective

The project, which combines field, laboratory, and modeling components, will determine the conditions under which trace elements are leached from CCRs in field settings as well as rates of leaching when CCRs are in contact with various ambient water chemistries.

Contact: Jack Haddan (jhaddan@indiana.edu)



Relating groundwater recharge to near-surface aquifer sensitivity in Indiana

Issue

As the transport of most potential groundwater contaminants from the surface to the water table occur in the aqueous phase, recharge represents a significant control on aquifer sensitivity to contamination. In support of that idea, multiple studies have hypothesized that the key to understanding aquifer sensitivity relies on a reliable estimation of recharge.

Objective

Develop a conceptual model of the physical factors and processes that control groundwater recharge in Indiana, and devise an objective measure of recharge over the landscape. Develop a statewide assessment of aquifer sensitivity to near-surface contamination based on the relationship of recharge to migration of contaminants through the unsaturated zone.

Publications and Websites

Spatially distributed regional recharge-rate estimation to guide an aquifer-sensitivity assessment for mid-continental glacial environments, USA
Letsinger, S.L., 2014, Spatially distributed regional recharge-rate estimation to guide an aquifer-sensitivity assessment for mid-continental glacial environments, USA [Abs.], Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs Vol. 46, No. 6.

Contact: Sally Letsinger (sletsing@indiana.edu)



Sulfate-reducing bioreactor net discharge monitoring

Issue

The construction of two sulfate-reducing bioreactor cells (SRBC) at a location in Martin County, Indiana on Hoosier National Forest land known as the Lacy site is being undertaken by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Reclamation (IDNR-DOR) to ameliorate the affects of acid-mine drainage (AMD) coming from small abandoned coal mines that operated over a 100 years ago. The use of bioreactor technology is new to the state of Indiana but promises to be beneficial in areas of low flow AMD discharge where more land-consuming techniques are not practical.

Objective

From monitoring flow rates along with chemical and stable isotopic components, the research conducted at this site will provide data for evaluating the effectiveness of the bioreactor in reducing acid-mine drainage, evaluating the microbial activity, and constructing a predictive model capable of providing sizing and longevity information to organizations desiring to build additional bioreactors for future low-flow AMD seep amelioration projects.

Contact: Tracy Branam (tbranam@indiana.edu)



The Indiana Shallow Geothermal Monitoring Network: A test bed for facilitating the optimization of ground-source heat pumps in the glaciated Midwest

Issue

Shallow geothermal energy represents a significant renewable resource that can be further developed via ground-source heat pumps (GSHP), the costs of which can be minimized by allowing designers and installers to make decisions about construction technologies that take into account the appropriate thermal properties and predominant moisture regime of the geologic material being utilized.

Objective

A comprehensive monitoring network that provides in-situ measurements of shallow subsurface thermal conductivity, temperature gradients, and soil moisture has not been developed to date.

Contact: Jack Haddan (jhaddan@indiana.edu)



Three-dimensional geologic model development of the Huntertown Formation, Allen County, Indiana

Issue

Our overarching goal is to understand and model in three dimensions the geology of aquifer systems covered by clay-rich deposits derived from ice lobes advancing out of the Great Lakes. This proposal focuses on the Wisconsin Episode Huntertown Aquifer System (HAS) in Allen County, northeastern Indiana, which is important not only because it provides water for a major metropolitan area, Fort Wayne, but also because it is representative of many complex Midwestern glacial aquifers. The HAS consists of the Huntertown Formation which is highly variable but dominated by proglacial sandy deposits that function as an aquifer. The Huntertown Formation is overlain by a clay-rich till, the Lagro Formation, that is widespread over the region and thought to function as an aquitard within the HAS.

Objective

The objective of this project is to develop a three-dimensional geologic model appropriate for representing realistic subsurface conditions in a groundwater flow model of glacial deposits in Huntertown, Indiana (Allen County).

Publications and Websites

A GIS-based approach to modeling three-dimensional geology of near-surface glacial morphosequences: Huntertown Formation, northeastern Indiana
Letsinger, S. L., Naylor, S., and Olyphant, G. A., 2009, A GIS-based approach to modeling three-dimensional geology of near-surface glacial morphosequences: Huntertown Formation, northeastern Indiana. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 41, no. 7, p. 166.
GIS-based potential recharge- and discharge-area mapping from three-dimensional hydrogeologic modeling in glacial terrains of the midwestern United States
Letsinger, S.L., and Olyphant, G.A., 2008, GIS-based potential recharge- and discharge-area mapping from three-dimensional hydrogeologic modeling in glacial terrains of the midwestern United States. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 40, no. 6, p. 472.

Contact: Sally Letsinger (sletsing@indiana.edu)





 
 
 
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