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SFS Annual Meeting

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ECOLOGICAL RECOVERY FROM ACID MINE DRAINAGE IN PASSIVE REMEDIATION PONDS IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA

Acid mine drainage is a pervasive problem in the United States, with 14,763 miles of contaminated streams across the country and 9,396 miles in the Appalachian region. Passive treatment of mine drainage typically involves forcing water through a series of ponds to neutralize pH and capture heavy metal precipitates, but monitoring of biological recovery seldom occurs. To assess recovery attained by passive treatment systems, we measured macrophyte density and diversity, as well as macroinvertebrate community composition at two ponds in the Tanoma treatment system, located in western Pennsylvania. Results showed a correlation between macroinvertebrate composition and pond location, with 55% more sensitive taxa present near the outlet pond. Vegetation density was 3.4 times higher in the outlet pond than in the pond closer to the raw mine discharge. Our findings show that water quality improvements from passive treatment systems permit substantial ecological recovery from the harmful impacts of abandoned mine discharge. Treatment systems with engineered ponds and water level controls may be effective for use in other regions where heavy metal remediation and biological restoration are desired.

Jessica Slappo (Primary Presenter/Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, qfnw@iup.edu;


Kelsey Twining (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, K.M.Twining@iup.edu;


David Janetski (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, janetski@iup.edu;


Michael Tyree (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, mtyree@iup.edu;


Gregory Mount (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, gregory.mount@iup.edu;