Environmental Geology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 209–216 | Cite as

Evaluation of acid-producing sulfidic materials in Virginia highway corridors

  • Zenah W. Orndorff
  • W. Lee Daniels
Original Article


Road construction through sulfidic materials in Virginia has resulted in localized acid rock drainage (ARD) that threatens water quality, sedimentation, integrity of building materials, and vegetation management. Geologic formations associated with acid roadcuts were characterized by potential peroxide acidity (PPA), expressed as calcium carbonate equivalence (CCE), and total sulfur (total-S) in order to develop a statewide sulfide hazard rating map. The geologic formations were grouped into four categories based on potential acid-producing severity: i) Tabb formation (PPA<6 Mg CCE/1000 Mg; S<0.2%); ii) Ashe formation (PPA<18 Mg CCE/1000 Mg; S<2.0%); iii) Chesapeake Group, Lower Tertiary deposits, Millboro shale, Marcellus shale, and Needmore Formation (PPA<60 Mg CCE/1000 Mg; S<2.6%), and; iv) Chattanooga shale and Quantico slate (PPA<99 Mg CCE/1000 Mg; S<3.9%). Sulfide hazard analysis should be an essential step in the pre-design phase of highway construction and other earth-disturbing activities.


Sulfides Acid rock drainage Potential acidity Pyrite Highway construction 



The authors would like to thank the Virginia Transportation Research Council (Project Officer: Mike Fitch) and the Virginia Department of Transportation for funding this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil Environmental SciencesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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