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Surface Coal Mining Effects on Ground Water Recharge Committee on Ground Water Recharge in Surface-Mined Areas Water Science and Technology Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C., 1990

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors, according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel 0. Their is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purpose of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Interior under Cooperative Agreement No. HQ51-CT89-32004/C. Available from Water Science and Technology Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N W. Washington, D.C. 20418 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NO. 90-60773 INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BOOK NUMBER 0-309-04237-2 Printed in the United States of America

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COMMITTEE ON GROUND WATER RECHARGE IN SURFACE-MINED AREAS HERMAN BOUWER, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Phoenix, Arizona, Chairman ROBERT E. BECK, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale CORALE L. BRIERLEY, VistaTech, Salt Lake City, Utah C. THOMAS HAAN, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, University of Virginia, Charlottesville ROBERT J. LUXMOORE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee JOHN C. SENCINDIVER, West Virginia University, Morgantown JAMES R. WALLIS, IBM Watson Research Center Yorktown Heights, New York WILLIAM W. WOESSNER, University of Montana, Missoula National Research Council Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Project Manager WENDY L. MELGIN, Staff Officer (through October 1989) RENEE A. HAWKINS, Project Secretary Office of Surface Enforcement Representatives MARA DEAN, Hydrologist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ALFRED E. WHITEHOUSE, Deputy Assistant Director, Program and Technical Support, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania iii

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WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD MICHAEL C. KAVANAUGH, James M. Montgomery Consulting Engineers, Oakland, California, Chairman NORMAN H. BROOKS, California Institute of Technology RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation, South Charleston, West Virginia JAMES P. HEANEY, University of Florida HOWARD C. KUNREUTHER, University of Pennsylvania G. RICHARD MARZOLF, Murray State University ROBERT R. MEGLEN, University of Colorado-Denver DONALD J. O'CONNOR, HydroQual, Inc., Glen Rock, New Jersey BETTY H. OLSON, University of California-Irvine P. SURESH CHANDRA RAG, University of Florida PATRICIA L. ROSENFIELD, The Carnegie Corporation of New York DONALD D. RUNNELLS, University of Colorado-Boulder A. DAN TARLOCK, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago Kent College of Law School HUGO F. THOMAS, Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, Connecticut JAMES R. WALLIS, IBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York M. GORDON WOMAN, The Johns Hopkins University Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director SARAH CONNICK, Staff Officer SHEILA D. DAVID, Senior Staff Officer CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer WENDY L. MELGIN, Staff Officer (through October 1989) JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Assistant ANITA A. HALL, Senior Secretary RENEE A. HAWKINS, Administrative Secretary iv

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Preface The availability of coal as a source of energy is important to our modern style of living and to the U.S. economy. The production of coal is a complex, heavy industry that can have many impacts on the environment, including the hydrologic functions of the areas in which mining occurs, such as water quality and rainfall-runoff-ground water recharge relationships. Currently, approximately 60 percent of the coal production in the United States is by _ . . surface mining. In order to consider and minimize the potential negative impacts of surface mining, Congress passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA; P.L. 95-87), which contains requirements relative to the hydrologic character of mined areas. Among these is a requirement that, in the restoration of the landscape, mining operators restore the ''recharge capacity" of mined areas to approximate pre-mining conditions. Interpretation and the means for implementation of this requirement are not well understood by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which in 1988 asked the National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board for assistance in evaluating existing hydrologic technology for its usefulness in helping v

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parties/mining operators to comply with this requirement. In response to the request from the OSM, in March 1989 the Water Science and Technology Board formed a committee of specialists in hydrology, soil science, water quality, and law to undertake an assessment of technologies currently used to evaluate ground water recharge. The scope of the work for this committee included the following items: 1. definition of the term "recharge capacity" technically and in the context of SMCRA and with regard to the matter of overall local water budget; 2. identification of methods for estimating ground water recharge in mining areas; 3. a critique of the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches with respect to their hydrologic validity; 4. recommendations for preserving ground water recharge in comparable terms for pre-mining "natural" and post-mining "restored" conditions; 5. identification of considerations, such as data requirements, design standards, mining methods, landscape, water quality effects, precipitation, and vegetation factors, that are relevant to analysis of hydrologic functions of mined locales; 6. identification of any research required to strengthen the recommended approach; and 7. recommendations for policy change, if warranted. To accomplish its tasks, the committee met four times to observe mining operations, to examine the existing state of hydrologic applications in the mining sector, to review regulatory requirements, and to write this report. The committee first met for briefings and to plan its activities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 6-7, 1989. Subsequent meetings and field trips were in V1

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~ ~ ~ ~ - Lexington and Hazard, Kentucky, on June 19-21, 1989; and in Billings and Decker, Montana, on September 7-9, 1989. The final meeting was held in Washington, D.C., on November 20-21, 1989, to complete this report. The committee's assignment was difficult owing to a number of factors, not the least of which is the paucity of accurate historical data on hydrologic functions (e.g., precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, ground water recharge) in the often remote areas in which surface mining occurs. The committee's focus of attention, "ground water recharge capacity," also presented the difficulty of not having an established scientific definition. Further, there is the aspect that the impact of mining might be less than the magnitude of uncertainty associated with the ability to quantify recharge. Nonetheless, in this report, the committee makes recommendations that should allow relevant parties to comply with the spirit of the SMCRA, i.e., to assure minimum negative disturbances to the hydrologic system in surface-mined areas. This report includes chapters on regulatory aspects of the issue, the hydrology of ground water recharge, pre-mining conditions in U.S. coal mining regions, methods and impacts of mining, and techniques for quantifying ground water recharge rates. Although not the major charge of this committee's report, a discussion of the relevant water quality issues is included (Chapter 59. Chapter 7 presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations. A glossary and technical appendixes supplement the main text, which was intentionally kept brief and focused. . . V11

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Contents 1 INTRODUCTION 2 LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK The Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 and "Recharge Capacity," 7 Kentucky and OSM Roles, 20 Chapter Conclusions, 22 3 HYDROLOGY OF GROUND WATER RECHARGE Hydrologic Cycle, 24 Occurrence and Movement of Ground Water, 29 Ground Water Recharge, 34 Fractured Rock Hydrology, 38 4 PRE-MINING CONDITIONS IN COAL MINING REGIONS OF THE UNITED STATES Eastern Coal Province, 41 Interior Coal Provinces, 49 Gulf Coal Province, 51 Northern Great Plains Coal Province, 52 Rocky Mountain Coal Province, 58 Pacific Coast Coal Province, 59 ix 1 7 41

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5 MINING: METHODS AND IMPACTS Overview of Surface Mining, Spoil Handling, and Reclamation, 60 Minesoil Properties, 66 Active Surface Mining Effects on Recharge, 68 ~ Reclamation Effects on Recharge and on Water Quality, 73 Control of Adverse Effects of Coal Surface Mining on Ground Water Quality, 78 6 QUANTIFYING GROUND WATER RECHARGE Techniques for Estimating Ground Water Recharge, 81 Application of Techniques to Surface Mining Sites, 91 Conclusion, 94 7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Ground Water Recharge Capacity Interpreted, 95 Hydrologic Evaluations, 96 Research and Development, 98 REFERENCES APPENDIXES A Glossary B Legal Background C Other Land Use Change Effects on Recharge D Water Quality Issues Associated with Surface Coal Mining E Biographical Sketches of Committee Members x 60 81 95 101 113 118 137 141 156