U.S. Department of the Interior - U.S. Geological Survey
NUMBER 4, December 1995
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It should not be quoted or cited as a publication.
ACIDIC-MINE-DRAINAGE PROJECTS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Submitted by Chuck Cravotta
PA234: Allegheny-Monongahela National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA)
Problem: A consistent description of the Nation's water resources,
that assesses regional and local factors affecting water-quality conditions and
trends, is needed by policy makers and managers. In the Allegheny-Monongahela River
Basin, which includes the headwaters of the Ohio River Basin in western Pennsylvania,
the quality of many river reaches, tributaries, and ground-water supplies is degraded
by acidic mine drainage (AMD), oil- and gas-well discharges, combined stormwater-sewer
overflows, sediment loading, agricultural runoff, and urban-industrial discharges.
AMD from abandoned bituminous coal mines is the most extensive cause of degraded
surface-water and ground-water quality.
Collaborators: Funding is provided the USGS-Water Resources Division (WRD)
Federal Program. The USGS-WRD is communicating and coordinating activities through a
local liaison committee consisting of interested scientists and water-resources
managers from Federal, State, and local agencies and universities.
Activities: In 1994, the Allegheny-Monongahela River Basin was selected to
begin assessment activities as a NAWQA study unit. The Allegheny-Monongahela NAWQA
will assess several water-quality issues, including the effects of natural hydrological,
geological, and biological factors and anthropogenic activities on water quality. In
June 1994, the liaison committee was formed and convened to plan or conduct the
following activities: exchange information about water-quality issues of regional and
local interest, identify sources of data and information, assist in the design and
scope of project products, and review project-planning documents and reports. In 1996,
an intensive 3-year data-collection effort will begin. Water-quality and aquatic-biology
data will be collected frequently at 8 to12 streams to evaluate seasonal conditions and
trends and at several other sites to assess effects of AMD during selected hydrologic
conditions. Ground-water-quality data will be collected on a spatially distributed
basis to include effects from geological and land-use variations, including mining.
Currently, an evaluation is underway to describe trends in water quality and aquatic
biology for several streams affected by AMD.
Project Chief: Steve McAuley (tel.: 412-644-2707).