Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 50, Issue 1–2, pp 91–107 | Cite as

Regional estimates of acid mine drainage impact on streams in the mid-atlantic and Southeastern United States

  • Alan T. Herlihy
  • Philip R. Kaufmann
  • Mark E. Mitch
  • Douglas D. Brown


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted the National Stream Survey (NSS) to provide unbiased estimates of the numbers and distribution of acidic and low acid neutralizing capacity streams in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The NSS employed a probability sample of 500 stream reaches to represent a target population of 64,300 stream reaches in the study area. All NSS samples were screened for acid mine drainage (AMD) influences, and population estimates of the regional extent of AMD impacts were made. Almost 10% of the stream reaches in the Northern Appalachians subregion were acidic during spring baseflow due to AMD. In the entire NSS, an estimated 4590 km (± 1670) of streams (2% of the total NSS length) were acidic due to AMD and another 5780 km (± 2090) of streams were strongly impacted, but not acidic. In subregions of the NSS with observed mine drainage effects, roughly the same number of streams were acidic during spring baseflow due to AMD as due to acidic deposition. The population estimates of mine drainage impact made in the NSS were similar to estimates made in previous surveys that attempted to census all of the streams in coal producing areas. These results demonstrate that a statistically based stream survey is a useful tool for evaluating regional water quality.


Acid Mine Drainage Population Estimate Mine Drainage Acidic Deposition Acid Neutralize Capacity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Appalachian Regional Commission: 1969, Acid Mine Drainage in Appalachia, Appalachian Regional Commission Report, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, J. P. and Schofield, C. L.: 1982, Water, Air, and Soil Pollut. 18, 289.Google Scholar
  3. Barnes, H. L. and Romberger, S. B.: 1968, Water Pollut. Control Fed. J. 40, 371.Google Scholar
  4. Bencala, K. E., McKnight, D. M., and Zellweger, G. W.: 1987, Water Resour. Res. 23, 827.Google Scholar
  5. Biesecker, J. E. and George, J. R.: 1966, Stream Quality in Appalachia as Related to Coal-mine Drainage, 1965, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 526, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, D. H. and Turk, J. T.: 1988, Water Resour. Res. 24, 871.Google Scholar
  7. Cougan, K. A., Sutton, D. W., Peck, D. V., Miller, V. J., and Pollard, J. E.: 1988, National Stream Survey — Phase I: Quality Assurance Report, EPA/600/4-88/018, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Las Vegas, Nevada.Google Scholar
  8. Driscoll, C. T., Baker, J. P., Bisogni, J. J., and Schofield, C. L.: 1980, Nature 284, 161.Google Scholar
  9. Dugan, P. R.: 1985, Biochemical Ecology of Water Pollution, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Dyer, K. L.: 1982a, Stream Water Quality in the Coal Region of Tennessee, U.S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service Tech. Rep. NE-77, Berea, KY.Google Scholar
  11. Dyer, K. L.: 1982b, Stream Water Quality in the Coal Region of Pennsylvania, U.S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service Tech. Rep. NE-76, Berea, KY.Google Scholar
  12. Dyer, K. L.: 1982c, Stream Water Quality in the Coal Region of West Virginia and Maryland, U.S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service Tech. Rep. NE-70, Berea, KY.Google Scholar
  13. Federal Water Pollution Control Administration: 1969, Stream Pollution by Coal Mine Drainage in Appalachia, U.S. Dept. Interior, Cincinnati, Ohio.Google Scholar
  14. Helsel, D. R.: 1983, Water Resource. Bull. 19, 881.Google Scholar
  15. Herb, W. J., Shaw, L. C., and Brown, D. E.: 1981, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations 81–538.Google Scholar
  16. Hillman, D. C., Pia, S. L., and Simon, S. J.: 1987, National Surface Water Survey: National Stream Survey Analytical Methods Manual, EPA/600/8-87/005, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  17. Kaufmann, P. R., Herlihy, A. T., Elwood, J. W., Mitch, M. E., Overton, W. S., Sale, M. J., Messer, J. J., Cougan, K. A., Peck, D. V., Reckhow, K. H., Kinney, A. J., Christie, S. J., Brown,D. D., Hagley, C. A., and Jager, H. I.: 1988, Chemical Characteristics of Streams in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. Volume I. Population Descriptions and Physico-chemical Relationships, EPA/600/3-88/021a, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  18. Kim, A. G., Heisey, B. S., Kleinmann, R. L. P., and Deul, M.: 1982, Acid Mine Drainage: Control and Abatement Research, U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 8905, Pittsburgh, PA.Google Scholar
  19. Kinney, E. C.: 1964, Extent of Acid Mine Pollution in the United States Affecting Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Dept. Interior, Fish and Wildlife Circular 191, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  20. Kleinmann, R. L. P., Jones, J. R., and Erickson, P. M.: 1988, An Assessment of the Coal Mine Drainage Problem, Proceedings of the 10th annual Conf. of the Assoc. Abandoned Mine Land Programs, Wilkes-Barre, PA.Google Scholar
  21. Mills, A. L.: 1985, in D. Klein and R. L. Tate (eds.), Soil Reclamation Processes, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, pp. 35–81.Google Scholar
  22. Omernik, J. M. and Powers, C. F.: 1983, Annals Assoc. Amer. Geographers 73, 133.Google Scholar
  23. Overton, W. S.: 1986, A Sampling Plan for Streams in the National Stream Survey, Technical Report 114, Department of Statistics Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.Google Scholar
  24. Powell, J. D.: 1988, Environ. Geol. Water Sci. 11, 141.Google Scholar
  25. Sale, M. J., Kaufmann, P. R., Jager, H. I., Coe, J. M., Cougan, K. A., Kinney, A. J., Mitch, M. E., and Overton, W. S.: 1988, Chemical Characteristics of Streams in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. Volume II: Streams Sampled, Descriptive Statistics, and Compendium of Physical and Chemical Data, EPA/600/3-88/021b, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  26. Schindler, D. W.: 1988, Science 239, 149.Google Scholar
  27. Sharpe, W. E., DeWalle, D. R., Leibfried, R. T., Dincola, R. S., Kimmel, W. G., and Sherwin, L. S.: 1984, J. Environ. Qual. 13, 619.Google Scholar
  28. Stumm, W., and Morgan, J. J.: 1970, Aquatic Chemistry, Wiley-Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  29. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: 1985, Title 40 Protection of the Environment, Chapter 1 Part 434, Subpart C, Section 434.32, p. 245.Google Scholar
  30. U.S. Geological Survey: 1967, in The National Atlas of the United States of America, U.S. Geological Survey, Washington D.C., pp. 186–187.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan T. Herlihy
    • 1
  • Philip R. Kaufmann
    • 1
  • Mark E. Mitch
    • 1
  • Douglas D. Brown
    • 2
  1. 1.c/o U.S. EPA Environmental Research Lab.Utah State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.NSI Technology Services Corp.CorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations