State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project Id: 2008PR45B
Title: Open Pit Quarry Restoration to Bio-Viable Land
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: N/A
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Groundwater, Hydrogeochemistry
Keywords: Resource Development, Plant Growth, Water Quality
Principal Investigator: Hwang, Sangchul (University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez)
Federal Funds: $ 20,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 6,400
Abstract: Open pit quarries potentially represent physical risks to safety of people and stock due to dangerous vertical pit walls or deep water. And also, they can be a possible source of environmental pollution from water accumulation unless properly drained. Other pits become arenas for off-road vehicle use, illegal dumping, trespass, and unauthorized activities like target shooting. Open pits have been restored or reclaimed to different types of environmental matrices depending on their end uses and the location and nature of the pits. The objective of this study is to investigate the feasibility of coal ash aggregates (CAA)-amended restoration of the open pit quarries in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. The site is planned to be used as an agricultural land after restoration. Therefore, this study aims to assess the potential risks in relation to contamination of soil and groundwater associated with the use of industrial byproducts CAAs. Another objective is to evaluate bio-viability on the land after restoration. To meet this end, a series of laboratory feasibility tests have extensively been conducted during the past two years. Based on the results obtained so far, it is construed that the use of CAAs as restoration amendments is feasible while conserving the groundwater quality and that germination and growth of the plants grown on the restored land are not negatively affected by the presence of the CAAs. However, it is vital to execute additional supporting research to strengthen the current data and findings acquired from the past 2-year research. Therefore, it is proposed that the current research be continued for 1 more year. During the 3rd year, for examples, the best-case restoration scenario will be combined with a physical aquifer model and the fate and transport of water quality parameters will be assessed experimentally and also via a numerical modeling. Nutrient reduction potential will be tested in the presence of the CAAs. Also, phyto-viability will further be assessed outdoors with the different plants, subject to natural weather environments. More importantly, a statistical analysis of the data will be performed to strengthen the scientific merits of the data and results obtained. (This is a CONTINUING PROJECT PROPOSAL for the third year.)

Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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