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John Steinmetz
Director, Indiana Geological Survey

Last modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book about Indiana coal mine reclamation compiles years of research

Oct. 3, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana Geological Survey has published an extensive collection of research papers about the reclamation of abandoned Indiana coal mine lands and the effects reclamation has on ground and surface water.

This volume, "Effects of Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation on Ground and Surface Water Quality: Research and Case Histories from Indiana," gathers together information learned by researchers who have studied the environmental impacts of mining and reclamation.

water turned organge by iron from mine site

This photograph of a seep that discharges acid mine drainage at the Friar Tuck site near Dugger, Ind., shows a mass of iron oxyhydroxide precipitates.

Print-Quality Photo

Thirteen papers, contributed by 20 authors from federal and state agencies, private industry, and university research institutes and academic departments, address these issues. The data in the full-color printed volume and on the accompanying CD-ROM will be useful to those who design and construct mine reclamation projects and to researchers actively involved in developing and refining today's and tomorrow's reclamation technologies, as well as to students and teachers in the environmental sciences.

"This book is especially important as it will aid our work in the future to design efficient and effective remediation systems for the many square miles of abandoned mine lands that still require our attention," said Bruce Stevens, director of the Reclamation Division of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

More than $131 million has been spent in Indiana on reclamation efforts at over 1,000 coal-mining sites. Studies conducted at Indiana mine sites and controlled lab experiments have produced considerable data and provide important information about what techniques are effective in converting barren abandoned mine lands to productive uses. Of major concern is reducing the outflow of acid mine drainage that leaches toxic metals from mine refuse into waterways.

"The results documented in this book represent investigations that have taken many years of field sampling and laboratory analyses to reveal the effects of reclamation on Indiana's waters," said John Steinmetz, Indiana Geological Survey director and Indiana state geologist. "We hope they can inform reclamation programs in Indiana as well as in neighboring coal-producing states."

The book is available online from the Indiana Geological Survey Bookstore.

The Indiana Geological Survey is a research institute of Indiana University that receives support, in part, from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington; its mission is to provide geologic information and counsel that contribute to the wise stewardship of the energy, mineral and water resources of the state. Since 1837, the health, safety and welfare of Indiana's citizenry have benefited through a combination of Indiana Geological Survey activities: focused research initiatives and cooperative investigations with governmental agencies, businesses and industries, and educational organizations; geologic sample and data collection and archiving; and dissemination of information in many forms, including published maps, reports, databases and educational outreach programs.