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SCR-15. Coal Slurry Underground Injection. SCR-15.

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scr 15


Coal Slurry Underground Injection

scr 151
  • “That the Department of Environmental Protection and the Bureau for Public Health shall jointly design and conduct, or contract to have conducted, a comprehensive study on the effects of underground injection of coal slurry, including the following:”
scr 152
  • “(1) An analysis of the chemical composition of coal slurry, including an inventory of organic and inorganic compounds;
  • (2) A hydrogeological study of the migration of coal slurry or its constituent contaminants from injection wells into the ground waters or surface waters of West Virginia;
  • (3) An analysis of the effects of the coal slurry and its constituent contaminants on human health.”
scr 153
  • “(4) A study of the effects of coal slurry and its constituent contaminants on public health in communities where it is determined that coal slurry or its constituent contaminants have migrated into ground waters currently or historically used for domestic purposes;
  • (5) An environmental assessment of the effects on surface water and aquatic ecosystems of the migration of coal slurry or its constituent contaminants into surface waters; and
  • (6) Any other considerations that the Department of Environmental Protection and the Bureau for Public Health deem to be important …”
study purpose
Study Purpose
  • WVDEP and OSMRE were to compile hydrologic data and technical information to use as the basis for a determination of the potential impacts to surface and groundwater resources from underground coal slurry disposal. Coal slurry disposal also includes placement in coal refuse impoundments and slurry cells.
study purpose1
Study Purpose
  • SCR-15 authorized a comprehensive two-phase study on the potential effects of the underground injection of coal slurry on the environment (Phase 1) and human health (Phase 2).phase of the study.
  • Team members include personnel from West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s DMR (Division of Mining and Reclamation) and Division of Water and Waste Management (DWWM), the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources-Bureau of Public Health, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement are conducting the first phase of the study.

Coal Preparation Plan Process

  • Preparation plants use physical separations to remove impurities from freshly mined coal.
  • Modern plants would be unable to operate effectively without the addition of various chemicals.
  • Process phases commonly used for:
    • Separate coal from non-coal
    • Solid-liquid separation
slurry overview
Slurry Overview
  • Around 95,000,000 tons of clean coal were deep mined last year. Almost all of it was processed at a preparation plant that produce coal slurry.
  • Around 15% of the total coal slurry produced in the state is injected underground.
  • 13 sites are approved for the injection of coal slurry (March 15th 2009).
  • An analysis of the chemical composition of coal slurry, including an inventory of organic and inorganic constituents, was conducted at six locations across the State.
  • The study sites included are: Southern Minerals, Panther LLC, Marfork Coal Company, Power Mountain, Loadout LLC, and Coresco, LLC.
  • Four sites had a full hydrogeologic study: Southern Minerals, Panther LLC, Loadout LLC, and Power Mountain.
site selection
Site Selection
  • Only active sites were chosen because current slurry injection activities had more historical hydrologic data available.
  • Some study sites were chosen because they were located near local well users and public water supply (PSD) wells.
  • Other sites were chosen because of their specific geologic and hydrologic characteristics.
  • Input from citizen groups and the environmental community was also taken into consideration when making site selection.
hydrologic sampling
Hydrologic Sampling
  • All the sites sampled reflect a one-time (“snapshot”) of the site-specific hydrologic conditions that surround four (4) slurry injection assessment sites
  • Samples reflect site-specific hydrologic conditions that surround the slurry injection assessment sites
  • Water samples analyzed from surrounding surface and ground water associated with the assessment sites

- Over 175 organic and inorganic chemical constituents as well as heavy metals were analyzed at each site

  • Water samples contain constituents at ppm or ppb levels

- Slurry mixing in water would not necessarily be visible

  • Surface water quality was characterized downstream of the surface placement (refuse areas) of coal slurry
sample collection
Sample Collection
  • Before sample collection: preparation

- Utilization of UIC and DMR permit files to determine injection

well locations, mine information, and monitoring well data

- Active UIC permits provide mine pool level and coal slurry injectate chemistry data

  • Meetings with company personnel to obtain mine maps and locations of proposed and existing injection and monitoring wells
  • Field instruments determine on-site stream and ground water characteristics at sample sites
  • Standard field parameters were measured - pH

- Temperature

- Specific conductance

- Mine pool level

qa qc in the sampling protocols
QA/QC in the Sampling protocols
  • Kept hands clean when sampling, using latex gloves
  • Samples collected in clean and appropriate containers so they did not leak or cause loss of volatiles
  • Sampling apparatus cleaned with detergent (Alconox) and water

- Distilled water used to rinse sampling and field instruments

  • In the field, use trip (lab) blanks to determine if any contamination occurred during sampling
  • Chemically preserve water samples (except the general chemistry, volatile and semi-volatile organic samples)
  • Samples cooled to 4.C in shipping container
  • Photographed sampling sessions
  • Filed chain of custody with lab
hydrologic issues
Hydrologic Issues
  • Organic compounds such as VOCs and SVOCs (Volatile and Semi-volatile organic compounds) can occur from environmental sources such as:

- Coal and its overburden, slurry, and soil

- Solvents and manufacturing

- Fuels (gasoline, kerosene, diesel) and oil/grease hydrocarbons

-Human activity

  • Discriminating between sources of the organic compounds is difficult without site-specific background monitoring before, during, and after injection
environmental evaluation
Environmental Evaluation
  • Environmental evaluation of the direct and/or indirect effects of the migration of coal slurry upon water quality of the four (4) assessment sites

- Surface water

- Ground water (residential and public water wells)

  • Environmental assessment of the surface water quality downstream of the surface placement of coal slurry, e.g, slurry cells, impoundments
  • At each of the four hydrologic assessment sites a compilation and evaluation of

- Inorganic chemistry (general chemistry and heavy metals) - Organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs)

  • An evaluation of these data is on-going