2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:25 AM


SMITH, Michael W.1, HORNBERGER, Roger J.2, SHUSTER, Evan T.3 and CRAM, J. Corey1, (1)District Mining Operations, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, 186 Enterprise Dr, Philipsburg, PA 16866, (2)District Mining Operations, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, 5 West Laurel Blvd, Pottsville, PA 16901, (3)Bureau of Mining and Reclamtion, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, 308 Hunter Path Road, Hummelstown, PA 17036, michaesmit@state.pa.us

Pennsylvania has long been recognized as a leader in science-based regulation of coal and industrial minerals mining and in the development of methods to abate its legacy of acid mine drainage (AMD) pollution. Many now commonly used techniques in mine hydrology studies and in abating AMD were first conceived by Dr. Richard R. Parizek and further refined and employed by his former students in the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection and in the groundwater consulting business.

Central to this effort was the prevention of AMD. It was known that some mines created AMD while others did not but it was difficult to predict with any certainty. A series of graduate students starting with Frank Caruccio in the 1960’s and continuing with Roger Hornberger and others in the 70’s developed the use of kinetic and whole rock overburden analysis to predict post-mining water quality, giving Pennsylvania the tools it needed to prevent further pollution. Parizek also pioneered the use of waste lime to prevent or abate AMD. His early attempts in Centre and Clarion counties established the concept. Subsequent research has refined application quantities and methods, making the use of waste lime common practice. Richard Parizek also did much of the earliest work on techniques for abating AMD from abandoned mine lands, Pennsylvania’s biggest water quality problem and a legacy of its coal-mining heritage. His first project on Babb Creek and later work on the use of limestone diversion wells with graduate student Corey Cram ultimately resulted in its complete restoration as a trout stream - - which had been dead for over a century. Dr. Parizek’s fracture-trace analysis is now commonly used in the review of new coal and industrial mineral mining proposals to predict post-mining hydrology and impacts to water supplies. Permitting and monitoring of limestone quarries, particularly those pumping large volumes of groundwater in karst terrains, has also benefited from advances in computer modeling and other work done by Dick Parizek and his former students.

Through 40 years of teaching and research, Richard Parizek has had a profound impact on the work done by groundwater professionals – both regulatory and consultants, with Pennsylvania’s mining program, making it among the country’s most successful and progressive.