Reclamation of coalmine overburden dump through environmental friendly method
Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, Volume 24, Issue 2, February 2017, Pages 371-378
Abstract:Coal mine spoils (-the previous overburden of coal seams, inevitable by-product in the mining process) which are usually unfavorable for plant growth have different properties according to dumping years. The reclamation of overburden dumps (OBDs) through plantation by using efficient microbes with suitable bio-inoculants is an environmental friendly microbial technique for significant improvement in fertility status and biological activities of the OBD soil. A systematic greenhouse pot experiment program followed by field trial was conducted to investigate the influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and NFB on the performance of plant growth which have resulted in the development of environmental friendly bio-inoculant package for soil reclamation of abandoned mine land by revegetation.
Native vegetation in reclamation: Improving habitat and ecosystem function through using prairie species in mine land reclamation
Ecological Engineering, In press, corrected proof, Available online 24 June 2017
R.M. Swab, N. Lorenz, S. Byrd, R. Dick
Abstract:In the Appalachian region, coal mining has impacted 600,000 ha historically. While a return to forest would be a preferable postmining land use, due to the difficulty and higher costs of reforestation, many sites are reclaimed into non-native grasslands. The typical seed mix for these grasslands is low diversity and consists of exotic, cool season grasses and forbs. For this study, we combined several species in standard reclamation mixes with prairie species native to North America to create a higher diversity planting on three mine sites in southeastern Ohio. Vegetation and soil microbial properties were assessed within two years after site establishment. Results were encouraging. The mix that included native plants met reclamation standards of ground cover two years after planting, indicating these alternative mixes can be successful. The first year species richness and diversity were higher in native planted areas when compared with traditional, the second year they were equal between treatments. Soil beta-glucosidase activities tended to be lower or higher in the native planted areas, in contrast to soil organic matter, which was generally higher under native prairie mix. Microbial biomass, Actinobacteria, and gram negative bacteria estimated by ester-linked Fatty acid methyl esters occasionally appeared to be higher under native prairie mix indicating that the experimental mix may have a positive effect on soil microbial biomass after almost two years of establishment. Incorporating hardy native prairie plants into reclamation seed mixes can increase the value of the ecosystem for pollinators and wildlife, and potentially improve soil conditions more quickly than non-native plantings alone.
Disparate impacts of coal mining and reclamation concerns for West Virginia and central Appalachia
Resources Policy, Volume 54, December 2017, Pages 1-8
Sarah J. Surber, D. Scott Simonton
Abstract:The international coal mining industry has experienced serious recent downturns, particularly in the electricity generating market, with steady declines projected into the future. In the United States, increased production from the natural gas sector has made coal-fired power production less competitive, and natural gas power plants are replacing aging coal-fired plants. As such, many of the larger coal companies are in or have recently been in bankruptcy, leaving all coal mining states in the United States at risk for liabilities from abandoned unreclaimed coal mines. Because of the various laws and regulations surrounding the permitting of coal mines, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia employ some form of alternative bonding systems, and Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming employ self-bonding, which allows a coal operator to reduce its secured bond. These alternative bonding systems do not contemplate the risk of a large-scale industry downturn, leaving states at risk for hundreds of millions of dollars of liabilities to reclaim abandoned coal mines and protect the environment and its residents.
We examined the reclamation bonds for all coal mines in West Virginia and found that West Virginia faces significant gaps between counties and watershed for the amount of the secured funding for site-specific reclamation. Significant disparities exist such that some residents are much more impacted by the amount of coal mining, as well as the amount of site-specific bonding. We also found that the areas most impacted by the amount of coal mining and reduced site-specific bonding are in the areas with the worst health outcomes. This is a concern for all regions with all types of extractive industries: how to maximize industry while protecting the environment and its residents. Moving forward, states should reconfigure bonding systems to alleviate these risks and burdens on its citizens to prepare for continued declines within the coal industry.
Soil quality index for evaluation of reclaimed coal mine spoil
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 542, Part A, 15 January 2016, Pages 540-550
S. Mukhopadhyay, R.E. Masto, A. Yadav, J. George, S.P. Shukla
Abstract:Success in the remediation of mine spoil depends largely on the selection of appropriate tree species. The impacts of remediation on mine soil quality cannot be sufficiently assessed by individual soil properties. However, combination of soil properties into an integrated soil quality index provides a more holistic status of reclamation potentials of tree species. Remediation potentials of four tree species (Acacia auriculiformis, Cassia siamea, Dalbergia sissoo, and Leucaena leucocephala) were studied on reclaimed coal mine overburden dumps of Jharia coalfield, Dhanbad, India. Soil samples were collected under the canopies of the tree species. Comparative studies on the properties of soils in the reclaimed and the reference sites showed improvements in soil quality parameters of the reclaimed site: coarse fraction (− 20.4%), bulk density (− 12.8%), water holding capacity (+ 0.92%), pH (+ 25.4%), EC (+ 2.9%), cation exchange capacity (+ 46.6%), organic carbon (+ 91.5%), N (+ 60.6%), P (+ 113%), K (+ 19.9%), Ca (+ 49.6%), Mg (+ 12.2%), Na (+ 19.6%), S (+ 46.7%), total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (− 71.4%), dehydrogenase activity (+ 197%), and microbial biomass carbon (+ 115%). Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify key mine soil quality indicators to develop a soil quality index (SQI). Selected indicators include: coarse fraction, pH, EC, soil organic carbon, P, Ca, S, and dehydrogenase activity. The indicator values were converted into a unitless score (0–1.00) and integrated into SQI. The calculated SQI was significantly (P < 0.001) correlated with tree biomass and canopy cover. Reclaimed site has 52–93% higher SQI compared to the reference site. Higher SQI values were obtained for sites reclaimed with D. sissoo (+ 93.1%) and C. siamea (+ 86.4%).