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In the northern district 14 counties, a still greater mileage of streamsover 500 miles—has had the acid load reduced.
Public water supplies.-Reduction of acid in the Cheat River was a specific benefit to Kingwood's public water supply in the drought emergency of 1936. Small water supplies as well as large public water supplies over the State are reporting many improvements, as noted later on in this booklet.
Navigation.—As the reductions on the smaller tributary streams on the Ohio River watershed are added together, the resultant effect will lower the acid content on the Monongahela, the Kanawha, and the Ohio Rivers and reduce the rate of acid corrosion on Federal dams, locks, and vessel equipment engaged in navigation. United States Army Engineers estimate that the annual cost to navigation is greater than the entire amount expended so far in the mine-sealing program in the Ohio River Basin.
Fishing Sportsmen report to the conservation commission that fishing is improving in the trout and bass streams of the State where the acid load has been lessened. Specific examples are cited in this pamphlet. Have you observed any changes in the streams in your county?
Industry Chemists and superintendents of the railroads and the mining industry in West Virginia report less acid in the streams from which they pump water used for boiler purposes in both southern and northern West Virginia. Therefore, industry as a whole is recognizing a helpful agency and is lending every possible help to the work of sealing abandoned mines.
Recreation.—The Cheat River, Tygart River, and Coal River watersheds are growing in popularity as recreation streams. Reduction in acid load is resulting in improved aquatic life in the streams. West Virginia's assets in recreation are growing as the acid load in these streams is decreased.
Agriculture.—In central West Virginia the lessening of the acid content of streams is benefiting agriculture. Lands formerly useless are becoming fit for stock grazing again. Specific instances in Harrison County are of interest and are noted later in this summary. A WET MASONRY DRAINAGE SEAL JUST COMPLETED IN MARION
COUNTY These men have completed their job of air-sealing a sulphuric-acid factory-an old abandoned coal mine. Masonry has been used to close the opening. Three thousand six hundred and fourty-four such openings have been sealed during the past 3 years. Unemployed miners on relief have received 80 percent of the money expended in closing 507 such acid manufacturing plants.
The acid load reduction in 34 abandoned mines which have been sealed and maintained in Marion County is 8.6 tons of acid daily.
Two Basic PRINCIPLES INVOLVED IN THE MINE-SEALING PROGRAMM
WATER DIVERSION AND AIR EXCLUSION
There are two basic principles which are followed in dealing with the old abandoned mines: (1) Diversion of all surface water direct to the stream, not allowing it to enter the cavity in the mountain from which the coal has been removed, thus giving this water po opportunity to become acid and making available immediately more alkaline water in the stream; and (2) exclusion of all air from the mine, thus preventing oxidation of sulphur compounds. These results are accomplished by building a concrete or masonry wall or seal in the mine mouth from which acid water is draining. A trap is constructed at the bottom of the seal, which allows the acid water to drain out but prevents the outside air from getting back into the old mine. It is the same principle that you see every day in the kitchen sink, where the trap, the downward and then upward bend in the pipe line, prevents sewer gas from passing into the house.
All of the air-ventilating holes into the mine must be tightly closed. As the illustrations show, concrete, masonry, and earth are used in the sealing. Also the holes on the hillside caused by the drawing of the pillars in the mine must be closed.
When every opening into this sulphuric-acid factory has been sealed, the mine drainage is sampled and tested chemically, its flow is measured, and the pounds or tons of sulphuric aid it is producing daily are calculated. The abandoned mines sealed in 1934 have been visited every 3 months since then and this sampling and measurement of flow repeated, so that engineers now can state the reduction in acid load of each sealed mine. If at any time the acid load tends to increase, maintenance crews are sent to the mine to discover the trouble, remedy it, and thus effectively control the acid pollution. Surface water must not be allowed to enter the mine, and air must be excluded in order to slow up and stop the oxidation of sulphur compounds within the mine. Hence the two laws of mine sealing are:
(1) Divert all surfact water as rapidly as possible to the stream nearby.
(2) Exclude all air, hence oxygen, from the mine to prevent oxidation of sulphur compounds, which form sulphuric acid.
Two WET DRAINAGE SEALS ON THE MURRAY MINE, MARION
Two basic principles are utilized in the mine-sealing work-first, closing all mountain breaks or openings so that surface water cannot enter the mine; second, excluding air by using a trap at bottom of masonry or concrete seal built at drainage openings. Diversion of surface water quickly lessens the amount of acid drainage from the mine, but it takes 1 or 2 years to make effective the acid reduction by air exclusion. Both principles must be effective to get a high degree of acid reduction. By air-sealing over 500 mines in West Virginia in the last 3 years, over 228,000 pounds of concentrated acid daily have been eliminated. Think of it—115 tons daily of strong acid done away with by sealing. This is the greatest stream-pollution accomplishment ever made in West Virginia.
Change in acid load after mine sealing—What is the record for your co
Let us select Marion County from this table. The story is as follows for that county, in which many of the pictures in this pamphlet were taken.
Thirty-four complete mines, or sealing units, which are in reality sulphuric-acid factories, have been sealed; 76 samples of water were collected from drainage openings of mines just when the sealing job was completed on the mine; 65 samples of water have been collected at intervals of 3 months since the quality of water began to lessen in acidity; 18,357 pounds of concentrated acid daily was the condition when the mines were first sealed; now, 3 years later, only 1,093 pounds of concentrated acid is the daily load. In other words, the rating index or the present ratio to original mine acid load is one-tenth of the original condition for this group of air-sealed mines in Marion County.
PIT MOUTHS OF OLD MINES WHERE MINERS FROM WORKS PROGRESS
ADMINISTRATION WORK UNDER CAREFUL SUPERVISION
These old openings must be timbered for safety, after they are cleaned out. Then the work of sealing proceeds, using material which can be obtained at low cost Frequently local stone is used in masonry seals. The low materials cost is a favorable factor in this work as a relief project. Work can be given to unemployed miners near their homes, and sealing mines conflicts in no way with any legitimate industry; in fact, it aids the farmer, the hunter, the fisherman, the city water-supply management, and the coal-mining industry, the State road-drainage systems and bridge foundations, and the Federal Government navigation dams. It harms no one; it aids many
Cost OF MINE SEALING DURING 3 YEARS OF WORK
The complete record—the only one available in West Virginia—of all mines, abandoned, marginal, and active, is now on file in C. L. Chapman's mine-sealing headquarters' office at Fairmont, W. Va. To obtain this record, trained mining engineers have traversed thousands of miles of streams, small and large, in 22 counties. Here is the summary: Active mines.
666 Marginal mines (now idle),
276 Abandoned mines.
Total of all mines...
2, 412 In December 1936, 507 of the 1,468 abandoned mines had been air-sealed and maintained in proper condition to reduce acid drainage. By July 1937 Mr. Chapman estimates that 700 mines will be completed and checked for maintenance.
During the past 3 years the Federal Government has spent in excess of $500,000 in this mine-sealing work in West Virginia. Approximately 80 percent of this money has gone for labor to unemployed miners, working in the territory near their homes, and these men were on the relief rolls. The State department of health and the State water commission, from time to time, have assisted financially in keeping the supervisory personnel working continuously throughout the 3-year period.
Detailed unit cost on sealing these mines and openings have been as follows: Average total cost of construction, per mine..
$798 Average total cost of maintenance, per mine.
144 Total expenditure per mine to November 1936.
942 Average total cost of construction, per opening-Average total cost of maintenance, per openingTotal expenditure per opening to November 1936...
105 In round numbers, we may say, summarizing costs, that the average mine in West Virginia contains 9 or 10 openings which cost $100 each to close a total of $1,000 per mine; 500 mines air-sealed, total $500,000, the cost of mine sealing for 3 years in West Virginia.
Analysis of the cost figures to date indicate a reduction of 44,000 tons per year of acid, giving the cost per ton of acid reduction approximately 87 cents annually, assuming a 10-year investment of the money. Is this a reasonable sum of money for the State or Federal Government to invest in acid mine drainage control? MINER MAKING A WET SEAL UNDER SEVERE WINTER CONDITIONS
Here a surface creek has frozen; however, the acid mine water at the right of picture has not frozen. Gradually we have noticed where sealing has been done, the acid water coming from the sealed mines changes in character, and the water begins to freeze as the acid content becomes less and less. Part of this surface stream may be entering the mine over the hill, but our program closes these openings and diverts the water over the ground to the stream. This is a principle which may be used to advantage even with active mines in the future program, thus reducing acid drainage from active coal mines.
EXTINGUISHING MINE FIRES-A FACTOR OF USEFULNESS
Many stubborn mine fires causing extensive damage have been extinguished by the mine-sealing program. Particular reference is made to the two fires, one at Montgomery in Fayette County. Since this fire has been extinguished 40 acres of forest land has been reclaimed, and dense vegetation is now growing. Good sealing work at Standard on Paint Creek, Kanawha County, has stopped another fire which was a menace to mining property. At the request of the Mining Department of West Virginia, several mine fires in Harrison and Marion Counties have been extinguished.
PUBLIC SAFETY IS PROMOTED
Public safety is promoted by the closing of these old pit mouths. One glance at this picture shows the dangers which confront unemployed miners who work on the abandoned-mine-sealing jobs. Mr. E. W. Lyon, formerly in charge at Fairmont, now regional director, United States Public Health Service, supervising this program in eight States in the Ohio River Basin, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Mr. C. L. Chapman, the present director, have insisted upon competent supervisors, experienced mining men, with first-class papers. Through this policy of safety first, there have been no accidents in West Virginia.
Director of Pittsburgh, Ohio Basin, and Mr. C. L. Chapman, the present director, have insisted upon competent supervisors, experienced mining men, with first-class papers. Through this policy of safety first there have been no accidents in West Virginia.
A CONTRAST IN WATER SUPPLY FOR MINES-BEFORE AND AFTER SEALING
Formerly, at the Coalton boiler house, Roaring Creek Junction, near Elkins, six large boilers called for a barrel of soda ash weekly in the make-up water, and then replacement of flues was almost a continuous proposition. _Now the same boiler house is using creek water from the Coalton Dam, and only 5 or 6 pounds of soda ash had been used during low water in the last 11 months. No boiler tubes had been replaced for 9 months. Savings like this mean real money to the coal-mining industry. Is it any wonder they are interested in the sealing program? They see the demonstration of principles which they finally use in their mining practice profitably. A DRY SEAL ON A MINE WHERE PUBLIC HEALTH AND DRINKING
WATER SUPPLIES ARE IMPROVED Direct health benefits and money saving can be shown on public drinking-water supplies in West Virginia through building masonry seals like this one in northern West Virginia. Because satisfactory ground-water supplies are not available in West Virginia, the surface streams serve as the source of the drinking-water supplies in most