Geological Research at the IGS

Monitoring hydrologic conditions in the vicinity of an acid seep at the Chinook abandoned mine lands site in Clay County, Indiana

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Dec 1, 2006 Nov 30, 2007 Clay
Director: Jack Haddan
Other Researchers: Greg Olyphant, and
Funding: Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - Division of Reclamation (DOR)
Issue: The Chinook Mine reclamation site in Clay County, Indiana, contains a coal-processing waste pile consisting of a mixture of coarse and fine refuse that covers approximately 120 acres. This waste pile is a significant source of acidic runoff and seepage that pollutes the surrounding drainage system.
Objective: We undertook a monitoring study to more fully characterize the hydrology of a large abandoned coal-waste deposit at the Chinook abandoned mine lands reclamation site. The ultimate goal of the project was to monitor the response of the water table in the coal-waste deposit to precipitation events.
Approach: The monitoring consisted of installing pressure transducers in six wells installed by personnel of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation, and in a pond that has formed on the surface of the deposit. The transducers were programmed to collect data hourly for a period of 12 months. A rain/snow gauge was installed adjacent to one of the monitoring wells to obtain site-specific precipitation data. The site was visited every 2 weeks for one full year to download data and verify the calibration of the pressure transducers. A slug test will be conducted in each monitoring well to determine the hydraulic conductivity of the waste-deposit sediments. On two occasions (at the beginning of the study when the water table is elevated, and in late summer when it is depressed) water samples were collected from each well, the pond, and a seep that exists at the base of the waste deposit. The water samples were analyzed by personnel of the Geochemistry Section of the Indiana Geological Survey, paying particular attention to identifying similarities in the chemical composition of the seepage water and the groundwater in the waste deposit.
Products: The monitoring data and results were presented in maps, time-series graphs, chemistry tables, and a brief narrative of the findings.
Benefits: A detailed analysis of the hydraulic gradients within the waste deposit allowed identification of changes that occurred in the groundwater chemistry related to seasonal and weather cycles. This analysis should have implications for other abandoned mine lands, as well as leading to a greater understanding of the specific Chinook site.

Quality and Hydrology of Water in a Coal Waste Pile Amended with Synthetic Soil, Chinook Mine, Clay County, Indiana

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