Coal-Mine Hollow Fill and Settling Pond Influences on Headwater Streams in Southern West Virginia, USA
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- Merricks, T.C., Cherry, D.S., Zipper, C.E. et al. Environ Monit Assess (2007) 129: 359. doi:10.1007/s10661-006-9369-4
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The influences of coal-mine hollow fills and associated settling ponds in three headwater streams were assessed in southern West Virginia, USA. Fill drainage waters had elevated conductivities and metal concentrations, compared to a regional reference. Benthic macroinvertebrate richness was not affected consistently by the hollow fill drainages, relative to a regional reference, although a more tolerant community, lacking in Ephemeroptera taxa at most locations, was evident. Collector-filterer populations were elevated at monitoring stations directly below the settling ponds, indicating that the ponds’ presence influenced macroinvertebrate community structure by means of organic enrichment. Corbicula fluminea growth was enhanced in monitoring locations directly below the settling ponds, also an apparent result of organic enrichment. Results of acute water column toxicity testing with Ceriodaphnia dubia, sediment chronic toxicity testing with Daphnia magna, and in-situ ecotoxicological assessments with C. fluminea demonstrated no mortality or toxic influence at most of the sites tested below the ponds. The settling ponds appear to serve as sinks in collecting some, but not all, trace metals.