Northeastern Section–41st Annual Meeting (20–22 March 2006)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 7:00 PM-9:30 PM


SERRANO, Dolores1, HORVATH, Lisa1, LINDSAY, Kimberly2, MILLER, Richard1, WINTER, Jay3 and NIKITINA, Daria1, (1)Department of Earth Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania, 250 University Ave, California, PA 15419, (2)California Univ of Pennsylvania, California, PA 15419, (3)Department of Environmental Protection, California District Mining Office, 25 Technology Drive, California Technology Park, Coal Center, PA 15423,

The purpose of the study was to assess environmental condition of Pike Run Watershed, PA. Pike Run is a tributary to Monongahela River and consists of 5 sub-basins. The objectives of the study were to determine the affect of coal mining history, the land use, and recently opened highway on watershed. The study area has a history of coal mining for almost 120 years. Rock units of Upper Pennsylvanian cyclotherm, including sandstone, shale, siltstone, mudstone, limestone, and coal are exposed at the surface of subbasins. Recent Quaternary alluvium is present in the stream valley bottoms. The Pittsburgh Coal Seam outcrops within the watershed. It ranges in thickness from six to fourteen feet. The coal was removed using both surface and underground techniques. Land uses noted in the area of the watershed include agriculture, forest, rural residential, light industrial, and oil production. Specified chemical, biological, and visual parameters were used to evaluate the watershed's condition: EPA's chemical standards for stream water quality (025 Pa. Code 93.7 Specific Water Quality Criteria), Stream Habitat Assessment Procedure (#EPA 841-B-97-003), and USDA's Stream Visual Assessment Protocol. The quality of the watershed varied depending on land use, mining history, and the reclamation of coal mines. The overall health of the watershed appears to be fair but in specific areas the damage from mining and agriculture is evident. The physical characteristics of the stream were determined to be in fair conditions except mass wasting and stream bank erosion in areas of agricultural use or poor mine reclamation. Water chemistry parameters indicated high concentrations of sulfate, phosphorous and high alkalinity at selected sites. These possibly related to acid mine drainage (AMD) and agricultural run-off. Other water quality parameters were found acceptable. The construction of Route 43 may have assisted with reclamation of the surface after mining and overall water quality improvement of the watershed. To protect stream from bank erosion and agricultural run-off stream fencing is recommended. Monitoring of stream water quality is a necessity in order to determine remained sources of non-point pollutant related to AMD.