State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007WV96B
Title: WRI 96 - Experimental Investigation into the Changes in Hydrologic and Environmental Quality Associated with Valley Fills
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: WV-1
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Water Quality, Floods
Keywords: Valley Fills, Mountaintop Removal Mining, Hydrology, Environmental Remediation, Flooding, Acid Mine Drainage
Principal Investigators: Petty, Todd ; Paul Ziemkiewicz
Federal Funds: $ 29,314
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 58,627
Abstract: The valley fills associated with mountaintop removal mining are commonly assumed by the public to be a cause of increased flooding in southern West Virginia. Previous studies of the hydrologic impact of valley fills were based upon modeling runs using computer programs such as HEC-HMS and SEDCAD 4.0. These programs employed semi-empirical constants for generating storm hydrographs that were derived from observations made in other watersheds with similar hydrologic properties. The degree to which these simulations replicated the infiltration capacity of the unconsolidated material in valley fills is unknown. This research will conduct direct measurements of storm hydrographs in small watersheds with and without valley fills. These hydrographs will be analyzed to determine the effect of the valley fills on rainfall-runoff relationships. Similarly, previous studies of the environmental impact of valley fills did not directly measure the effects of the unconsolidated material on water quality. In addition to measuring the discharge flow rate, this research will directly measure the pH and the electrical conductivity of the water as it leaves small watersheds with and without valley fills. Water quality sampling downstream of the studied valley fills will allow the investigators to relate changes in pH and conductivity to changes in those constituents related to Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). The results of this research will permit a more accurate accounting of effects of valley fills on the downstream human and natural ecology.

Progress/Completion Report, 2007 PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2008 update PDF
Final Report, 2009, PDF

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