Project Listing

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Brownfields/Economic Development

BF 81 - STOP BAD Buildings 2.0

Project Title: STOP BAD Buildings 2.0
Project No.: BF 81
Principle Investigator: Carrie Staton
Funding Source(s): Benedum Foundation
Funding Amount: $100,000
Project Duration: 7/1/2011 - 6/30/2013

Project Description:
The BAD (Brownfields, Abandoned, Dilapidated) Buildings Program has created a model and the tools needed to help communities across WV create BAD Buildings Redevelopment Plans. For communities with buildings identified and prioritized, the primary challenge remains the accessibility of funds to advance more buildings through the demolition process. Even those sources which already exist are either unknown to communities or inaccessible due to burdensome requirements – namely, that the largest pool of demolition funding currently available is in the form of a loan, which many communities lack the capacity to be eligible for with the significant reason being an inability to commit to repayment.

Through the first iteration of the STOP BAD Buildings program and a partnership with the WV Housing Development Fund, the NBAC has attempted to address issues related to demolition funding. However, the strict requirements of repayment for the WVHDF funding, along with the small scope of the WVDEP pollution Prevention and Open Dump (PPOD) funding identified through STOP BAD Buildings has not led to consistent and large-scale funding to complete enough demolitions to help communities begin to see the economic impact of addressing abandoned and dilapidated buildings.

STOP BAD Buildings 2.0 will increase the impact of this approach by broadening the scale and scope of demolition funding, working to identify significant pools of non-loan money from multiple sources to fund demolition of abandoned and dilapidated residential structures across the state. With leveraged funding from the WV Development Office, the NBAC will continue to move prioritized sites through the demolition process, getting them ready to receive the new demolition funding and complete the strategic tear down of BAD buildings. At the same time, staff will work with new and existing partners to facilitate the release of demolition funding from existing sources in new ways that are more accessible and impactful for communities.

BF 84 - BAD Buildings with Community Works

Project Title: BAD Buildings with Community Works
Project No.: BF 84
Principle Investigator: Carrie Staton
Funding Source(s): Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T)
Funding Amount: $3,000
Project Duration: 1/1/2018 - 12/31/2018

Project Description: 
The program will create and implement plans to accelerate government efforts to stabilize communities, reduce/remove blighted property, and prepare neighborhoods for revitalization. Plans contain: (1) a prioritized property inventory, (2) reuse options for high priority sites, and (3) recommended actions for local governments. The program will provide technical assistance to two communities selected by partners at Change, Inc. in Weirton, WV and the Housing Development Authority of Wayne County.

Acid Mine Drainage Remediation

ETD 30 - Recovery of Rare Earth Elements From Coal Mine Drainage

Funding Agency: USDOE - NETL
Project Duration: 3/1/16 - 6/30/19
Project Amount: $950,534
Principal Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Project Manager: Jennifer Hause
Co-Investigators: Xingbo Liu, Ph.D.; Aaron Noble, Ph.D.

Project Description:
This project will explore acid mine drainage (AMD) sludge as a domestic source of Rare Earth Elements (REEs). REEs occur across a wide variety of geological formations but, with rare exceptions, at concentrations too low to permit economic recovery. In response, the conventional REE industry has sought deposits where natural hydrothermal process resulted in commercially attractive REE concentration. These deposits are extremely uncommon, particularly in the United States.

The overall objectives of Phase I of this project are (1) to develop a cost-effective and environmentally benign process to treat and recover REEs from sludges generated during treatment of acidic coal mine drainage (AMD). And (2) to prepare for Phase II of the project, in which the project team will scale up the process to prototyping level and conduct thorough techno-economic analysis.

ETD 39 - Rare Earth Elements Identification and Characterization in AMD Solids

Funding Agency: USDOE - NETL
Project Duration: 10/1/16 - 4/30/18
Project Amount: $400,000
Principal Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Project Manager: Jennifer Hause
Co-Investigators: Xingbo Liu, Ph.D.; Aaron Noble, Ph.D.

Project Description:
The goal of this project is to survey acid mine drainage (AMD) solids to identify the concentration and amount of rare earth elements available in AMD solids. Researchers will sample and analyze AMD solids from 120 AMD treatment sites at coal mines across the northern and central Appalachian coal basins in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. They will estimate the volume of acid mine drainage that is available in the northern and central Appalachian coalfields, as well as the purity and amount of rare earth elements that could be recovered. This effort is in support of the DOE’s ongoing program to recover rare earth elements from coal and coal by-products.

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ETD 53 - At-source Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from Coal Mine Drainage

Funding Agency: USDOE - NETL
Project Duration: 12/15/2017 - 5/15/2019
Project Amount: 
Principal Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Project Manager: Jennifer Hause

Project Description:
Current studies by the research team have shown acid mine drainage (AMD) is a promising feedstock for domestic Rare Earth Element (REE) production. AMD is a pollutant generated by many coal and other types of mines and it is treated in compliance with Federal and State clean water rules to neutralize pH and remove metal ions of iron (Fe), aluminum (Al) and manganese (Mn). Treatment consists of alkaline addition to adjust pH, oxidation, and precipitation of metals as hydroxides. REEs also precipitate during AMD treatment and our ongoing study focusses on REE recovery from AMD sludge.

The objective is to develop and test a process to extract an enriched REE feedstock from AMD at the site of production, upstream of conventional AMD treatment. Prior knowledge of AMD chemistry yields two distinct AMD cases: net acid and net alkaline, (Cases A and B, respectively), which will be explored. The resulting products will be processed through our acid leaching/solvent extraction facility to compare performance with ongoing SX trials using AMD sludge as the feedstock.

WV 338 - Herods Run

Project Name: Herods Run
Project No.: WV 338
Principle Investigator: Jason Fillhart
Funding Source(s): West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection & Office of Surface Mining
Funding Amount: $360,165
Funding Duration: 9/1/14 – 6/30/18

Project Description:
Herods Run is a small tributary to the Buckhannon River located to the east of Alexander in Upshur County, West Virginia. The proposed site consists of acidic mine drainage seeps that collect into a channel and drain into an existing storm water/sediment pond and then back into a channel where it joins the Buckhannon River approximately 2.3 miles downstream.

Project objectives include the proposal, development, and installation of a passive treatment system to treat the mine seeps and improve the overall water quality of Herods Run and ultimately the Buckhannon River.

WV 346 - Buckhannon River Passive Treatment Installation: Swamp Run #2

Funding Agency: WVDEP
Project Duration: 9/30/18
Project Amount: $308,856
Principal Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Project Manager: Jason Fillhart

Project Description:
Swamp Run is a small tributary to the Buckhannon River, located south of Alton in Upshur County, West Virginia. The Swamp Run #2 site consists of two seeps emanating from capped spoil located above their origin. The seeps confluence with one another, enter into Swamp Run and then into the Buckhannon River approximately 1.4 miles downstream. The proposed passive system will utilize limestone leach beds, open limestone channel and wetlands as a means to treat the water emanating from the seeps.

The objective of this reclamation is to further facilitate the removal of AMD contaminates entering the Buckhannon River; thus, improving both water quality and stream habitat.

WV 349 - Ecological and Socioeconomic Benefits of AMD Remediation

Funding Agency: USDOI
Project Duration: 9/30/18
Project Amount: $199,960
Principal Investigator: Mike Strager, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof., WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Design
Co-PI(s): Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., Todd Petty, Ph.D., Eric Merriam, Ph.D.

Project Description:
There remains considerable uncertainty as to the long-term ecological and societal benefits of efforts to restore acid mine drainage (AMD)-impacted systems, particularly for projects occurring across larger spatial (i.e., watershed) scales. This represents a critical knowledge gap because successful restoration requires an adaptive management framework wherein remediation activities are first prioritized and later altered based on projected and observed ecological response and socioeconomic outcomes. The specific objectives of the project are to:
1) characterize long-term ecological response to two state-of-the-art watershed-scale AMD treatment efforts;
2) quantify temporal changes in success of each restoration effort; and
3) develop a remediation prioritization framework for AMD-impacted systems that simultaneously maximizes ecological and socioeconomic benefits.

WV 358 – Cane Fork of Cabin Creek Passive Treatment Installation

Funding Agency: CWA 319(h)
Project Duration: 6/30/17 - 6/30/20
Project Amount: $249,988
Principal Investigator: Jason Fillhart
Project Manager: Melissa O'Neal

Project Description:

Cane Fork Project #1 is located approximately 1.3 miles southeast of the town of Eskdale and is positioned on an unnamed tributary of Cane Fork. AMD (Acid Mine Drainage) emanates from three listed discharges from abandoned deep mine operations surrounding the creek. Based on data collected by the WVDEP, this tributary contributes 1,579 pounds per year of aluminum, 208 pounds per year of iron, and 665 pounds per year of manganese. The 2004 TMDL (total maximum daily load) lists permissible loads of 138 pounds per year of aluminum, 208 pounds per year of iron, and 665 pounds per year of manganese.

The proposed passive treatment system for this tributary will seek to meet the required reductions. This equates to a reduction of 1,441 pounds per year of aluminum. There is no reduction required for iron and manganese for this tributary; however, iron will be reduced by 166 pounds per year and manganese by 151 pounds per year as a result of the installation of the passive treatment system.

This project is intended to address the first phase of the Cane Fork AMD Passive Treatment Project for SWS#6141. Phase I begins with the collection of samples for a full calendar year. Surveying, engineering, project design, and permit work will also be completed during phase I. Finally, a primary settling pond and open limestone channel will be constructed as part of the first phase. A second phase will be needed to install the limestone leach bed(s) and address any remaining construction needs.

Conferences/Events

Environmental Education

WRI 216 - Environmental STEM Research Program: West Virginia University and Boy Scouts of America Bechtel Summit

Project Name: Environmental STEM Research Program: WVU/BSA Bechtel Summit
Project No.: WRI 216
Funding Agency: U.S. Geological Survey
Project Duration: 3/1/16 - 2/28/18
Project Amount: $271,240
Principal Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Co-Investigators: Todd Petty, Ph.D.; Richard Thomas, Ph.D.; Jim Anderson, Ph.D.; Nicolas Pierre Zegre, Ph.D.
Project Manager: Tamara Vandivort

Project Description:
The program, being developed in cooperation with the Boy Scouts of America, will introduce scouts and their adult leaders to the environmental STEM field, particularly the aquatic sciences while using the Summit Bechtel site as an ecology observatory and laboratory. Through the program, scouts will earn merit badges while learning about ecology, biology, water quality, wildlife, and wetlands. Scouts will have hands-on training through taking measurements, entering data, and plotting simple graphs to see the results.

WRI 221 - 3RQ REACH 4Schools

Project Name: 3RQ REACH (Research Enhancing Awareness via Community Hydrology) 4Schools
Project No.: WRI 221
Funding Agency: Colcom Foundation
Project Duration: 7/1/2017 - 6/30/19
Project Amount: $52,800
Principal Investigator: Tamara Vandivort
Project Manager: Melissa O’Neal

Project Description:
REACH 4Schools strives to engage students from grade 6 through university level in water quality monitoring research within the full 3RQ Upper Ohio River basin region. Middle and high school students who participate in the project in their regular school classes will become involved with a University-led multi-state research project in which their activities will include:

  • collecting data, either continuous by deploying data loggers or discrete by obtaining physical samples for chemical analysis;
  • analyzing the data gathered using the 3RQ database, and;
  • interpreting the data;
  • drawing conclusions, and;
  • creating courses of action based on their conclusions.

In addition, the program will arrange visits to laboratories of partner Universities.   Students will thus be introduced to researchers working in the science field and be provided an opportunity to be exposed to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career options.

Developing relationships between schools and universities will not only provide a unique experience for students, but also serve the 3RQ researchers by providing valuable long-term water monitoring data.  

These data will be used by the Universities that make up the 3RQ program (http://3riversquest.org) and shared with other schools participating in the program to analyze the overall health of the rivers.

WRI 224 - Phase 2 Environmental STEM Research Program: 2017 National Scout Jamboree

Project Name: Phase 2 - Environmental STEM Research Program: 2017 National Scout Jamboree
Project No.: WRI 224
Funding Agency: U.S. Geological Survey
Project Duration: 3/1/17 - 2/28/18
Project Amount: $173,659
Principal Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Project Manager: Tamara Vandivort
 
Project Description:
Phase 2 will expand on the initial STEM Research curriculum by developing an activity book and connecting scouts to both water quality monitoring and technology transfer through the use of a continuous monitor and multi-parameter test kits. This project will also implement the E-STEM curriculum at the Summit Bechtel Reserve for the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, which takes place July 19-28, 2017.

We will develop an E-STEM Activity Book, establish a water monitoring component to the E-STEM research program and enhance the scope of the current research project to provide a more streamlined curriculum for the 2017 National Scout Jamboree. During the project year (March 1, 2016 – February 28, 2018), an on-site water monitoring network will be set up, and scouts and their leaders will be engaged at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree.

The program will engage scouts in activities that are interactive, hands-on, and educational. The project will align with STEM by allowing scouts to: discover water quality science, understand how technology helps us learn about the environment, understand the engineering behind the tools that are used to monitor the environment and integrate mathematics by analyzing data and graphs. Scouts at the 2017 Jamboree will complete a certain number of activities listed in the E-STEM activity book, and upon successful completion will be awarded a program patch. The main objective of this project is to make scouts aware of the E-STEM field. Additional funding sources will be targeted during the year for financial support for additional years to enhance the E-STEM curriculum and install additional instrumentation.

Gas Well Development

ETD 26 - Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Labratory (MSEEL)

Project Name: MSEEL
Project No.: ETD 26
Principle Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., Director
Project Manager: Jennifer Hause
Funding Source(s):
U.S. Department of Energy - NETL
Funding Amount:
Funding Duration: 3/31/18

Project Description:
West Virginia University (WVU) has formed a consortium of university researchers from WVU and Ohio State University, and industrial partners (Northeast Natural Energy, LLC is the operator and Schlumberger is a major technology provider) to develop a research program focused on a field site and dedicated laboratory in the Marcellus unconventional production region of north-central West Virginia. The Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL) provides a unique opportunity to undertake field and laboratory and societal research over a five year timeframe as budgeted, and the potential for extension to additional years. The site at the Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP) in Monongalia County, West Virginia is conveniently located with excellent access from university and government research facilities. The area surrounding the proposed test site has a multiple decade’s long groundwater and soil baseline and existing monitoring. Specialized water (flowback and produced), solids (cuttings), air, noise and traffic monitoring have been undertaken to develop a comprehensive environmental baseline, and impact assessment.

The MSEEL site provides a well-documented baseline of reservoir and environmental and societal characterization. Access to multiple Marcellus wells separated by sufficient time to analyze data will allow for the collection of samples and data, and the testing and demonstration of advanced technologies. The project’s phased approach allows for flexibility to identify and incorporate new, cost-effective technology and science focused on increasing recovery efficiency, while reducing environmental and societal impacts. For additional information, please visit the project website http://mseel.org/

Presentations: Appalachian Basin Technology Workshop Presentation (MSEEL) 7.20.16 – Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz

ETD 31 - Support for the International Forum on Unconventional Gas Sustainability and the Environment (INFUSE)

Project Name: INFUSE
Project No.: ETD 31
Principle Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., Director
Project Manager: Tamara Vandivort
Funding Source: U.S. Department of State
Funding Amount:
Funding Duration: 5/31/18

Project Description:
West Virginia University (WVU) will work to coordinate international outreach and education related to the International Forum on Unconventional Gas Sustainability and the Environment (INFUSE) to be developed via its Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL) for foreign officials from countries seeking to sustainably develop unconventional gas resources. The overall goal is to increase international understanding of how proper drilling, hydraulic fracturing and water management can reduce environmental risks and lead to sustainable resource development. Beneficiary government officials will better understand the unique safety, environmental, and social challenges associated with the development of unconventional resources and best practices to address those challenges. WVU will use the MSEEL and its work on shale gas in the Appalachian basin and globally as a base to develop and undertake short courses, shale gas site visits, briefings, reports, and an online global database of unconventional resource activities for government and non-government officials in targeted foreign countries.

Infrastructure

Mining

ETD 46 - Development of Critical Capabilities in Advanced Mineral Extraction

Project Name: Development of Critical Capabilities in Advanced Mineral Extraction
Project No.: ETD 46
Principle Investigator(s): Paul Ziemkiewicz, Harry Finklea, Aaron Noble, Lian-Shin Lin, Xingbo Liu
Funding Source(s): O'Brien Energy Research Fund (WVU Energy Institute)
Funding Amount: $74,621
Funding Duration: 01/01/17 - 6/30/18

Project Description:
Five interconnected tasks are proposed for this project. Each will develop team work, refine new capability and generate data that will strengthen future proposals. The first task is the development of an extraction screening procedure. A bench level screening procedure will be developed to predict the REE enrichment resulting from combining naturally occurring acid sources with REE-enriched, industrial waste products.

The second task will be Lithium (Li) extraction and recovery. For each separation technology developed by the project team, Dr. Noble’s group will develop a preliminary techno-economic analysis process model. The model will identify the primary operational cost factors and compare these to the market value of the relevant critical material products.

The third task is the development of advanced electrochemical metal extraction systems. The objective of this project is to leverage current work on treatment of produced water into methods for concentrating selected metal ions (Li+, Co2+, rare earth elements) from sources with high salt content (produced water, AMD and extracts of fly ash).

The fourth task is rare earth element and lithium fractionation and concentration from acid mine drainage and brine solutions. A hybrid method consisting of selective precipitation and biological leaching will be tested to fractionate and concentrate REEs and lithium from AMD. The method is designed based on our previous work on AMD treatment and recovery of these targeted elements.

The fifth task is to further improve selectivity of solvent extraction to separate REEs from major metal ions effectively. This task will also develop an improved leaching process to improve the yield rates of REE, and to avoid possible problems during extraction step recovery and refining of rare earth elements. Focus will be provided through monthly meetings of the team around development of the ‘generic’ proposal.

WV 340 - Geomorph Landform Project in Appalachia

Project Name: Geomorph Landform Project in Appalachia
Project No.: WV 340
Principle Investigator: Jennifer Hause
Funding Source(s): Office of Surface Mining
Funding Amount: $200,000
Funding Duration: 9/1/14 – 5/31/19

Project Description:
Through this project, we will work with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to design, implement, and monitor a small-scale geomorphic landform reclamation project. The Office of Special Reclamation (OSR) is part of the Division of Land Restoration within the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). Special Reclamations is mandated by the State of West Virginia to protect public health, safety, and property by reclaiming and treating water on all bond forfeited coal mining permits since August 1977 in an expeditious and cost effective manner.

If proven successful through the cost and water quality performance evaluation, OSR, and thus the citizens of the State, benefit from the innovative GLD model through reduced environmental impact; improved water quality; improved flood control; and reduced land reclamation and water liabilities to the Special Reclamation Fund.

Technical Support

WRI 188 - National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) Website Support

Project Name: NIWR.info Website Support
Project No.: WRI 188
Principle Investigator: Megan Kruger
Funding Source(s): National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR)
Funding Amount: $15,522
Funding Duration: 7/1/17 – 6/30/18

Project Description
This project supports the National Institutes for Water Resources public website (NIWR.info). The WVWRI provides website content management support for this national organization.

The National Institutes for Water Resources comprises 54 water resources research institutes nationwide. A Water Resources Research Institute is located in each State, the District of Colombia, and the U.S. Territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The Guam Institute also serves the Federated States of Micronesia and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Hawaii Institute also serves American Samoa.

Visit the NIWR website at www.niwr.info.

Wastewater

ETD 37 - Improving Water Management, Treatment, Recovery in Oil and Gas

Project Name: Improving Water Management, Treatment, Recovery in Oil and Gas
Project No.: ETD 37
Co-Principle Investigator(s): Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Funding Source(s): National Science Foundation (EPSCoR)
Funding Amount: $496,470
Funding Duration: 8/1/16 - 7/31/18

Project Description:
The goal of this project is to develop practices to improve the safety of deep-well injection and develop economical methods for treating produced water so that it can be reused. This is a joint research effort with the University of Kansas to develop cutting-edge strategies for better management, treatment, protection and recovery of produced water.

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Water Quality Monitoring

WRI 133 - TDS Working Group

Project Title: TDS Working Group
Project No.: WRI-133
Principle Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz
Funding Source(s): Coal Industry
Funding Amount: $296,000.00
Project Duration: 1/1/2010 – TBD

Project Description
The Coal Industry has successfully addressed a number of water quality issues in the past, most notably, suspended solids, acidity and soluble metals associated with mine drainage. However, as the industry moves into the deepest portions of the Pittsburgh Basin, it faces a new water quality challenge: total dissolved solids (TDS). These are ions such as sodium, chloride and sulfate. They do not precipitate until the concentrations become extremely high. For example, sodium sulfate and sodium chloride solutions only saturate at concentrations of 11% and 35% respectively (110,000 and 350,000 mg/L). On the other hand, discharges from most surface mines and shallower deep mines are generally dominated by calcium and sulfate. Their solubility is controlled by gypsum, a much less soluble salt. Its solubility is only about 0.21% or 2,100 mg/L. It is important to note that none of major ions that comprise TDS either bio-accumulate or are toxic at reasonable concentrations.

The fall 2008 high TDS event in the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania and a fish kill in Dunkard Creek focused attention on managing TDS from AMD treatment plants in the upper Monongahela River basin. Typically, TDS concentrations in the Monongahela River have exceeded 500 mg/L only when flow drops below 2,000 cfs. The likelihood of TDS exceeding 500 mg/L increases as flows decrease to extremely low levels e.g. 300 cfs. While TDS had been trending upward in the River in recent years, coincident with increased gas development in the region, the extent to which the coal vs. gas industries contribute to TDS loadings has been uncertain. It is likely, however, that since coal’s AMD treatment plants are regulated under the Clean Water Act that they will receive the greatest regulatory attention. One of the few ways to segregate the relative contribution of the two energy industries is by characterizing the TDS loads that are produced by mine drainage treatment plants under a range of operating conditions. Preliminary estimates indicate that if all of the plants along the upper Monongahela River were running at full capacity with the maximum [TDS] then they would generate TDS at a rate of about 500,000 tpy. At normal operating conditions TDS production appears to be less than half that amount. By comparison, the TDS loading in the Monongahela River, at Masontown PA has ranged from 300,000 to 1,400,000 tpy since July 09.

Preliminary studies have shown that when flow in the Monongahela River exceeds 5,000 cfs it has substantial capacity to assimilate TDS. This represents a challenge and an opportunity. The opportunity is to develop the management tools that will maintain safe water levels in mines while controlling TDS levels in the Monongahela River and streams like Dunkard Creek. Unlike many water quality parameters, modeling TDS is simple. For example, data collected indicate maximum TDS levels in lower Dunkard around 5,000 mg/L at low flow (< 30 cfs) and at a typical TDS production from the major AMD plants of about 150,000 tons per year. If that loading rate was produced only when the flow in Dunkard Creek exceeded 120 cfs, and pumped mine discharges were the only source of TDS, then the TDS concentration in Dunkard Creek could not exceed 1,250 mg/L at Bobtown PA. This approach could also indicate whether and to what extent non-mine discharges were contributing to TDS loadings in the creek. Combined with continuing TDS monitoring in the Monongahela River, the unaccounted for TDS could be identified by subtraction.

Proposed Solutions
There appear to be three options for managing TDS:

  1. Manage discharges to maintain target TDS levels in the receiving creek and the Monongahela River. This will require:
    • Accurate and current assessments of TDS loads generated by each AMD treatment plant
    • Accurate and current assessments of TDS loadings in the receiving creeks and the Monongahela River
    • Assimilative capacities of the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers and their major tributaries
    • Alternatives evaluation
    • Development of target TDS levels for rivers and streams
    • Transparency and accountability
  2. NPDES based end of pipe treatment standards
  3. 3. TMDLs for TDS (optimistically this could be the outcome of an industry led process and be the outcome of option 1; if driven by conventional regulatory thinking it would likely morph into option 2).

The Objective
The objective of the TDS working group is to thoroughly explore option 1 above, to develop an efficient strategy for protecting the region’s streams and rivers while sustaining the economic viability of the industry. This may ultimately take the form of an industry led TMDL.

WRI 164 - Upper Ohio River Basin QUEST (3RQ)

Project Name: Upper Ohio River Basin QUEST (3RQ)
Project No.: WRI 164
Principle Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., Director
Project Manager: Melissa O'Neal
Funding Source(s): Colcom Foundation
Funding Amount: $699,990
Funding Duration: 5/22/12 – 3/31/18

Project Description
3 Rivers QUEST, or Quality Useful Environmental Study Teams, is a water quality monitoring and reporting program that includes two distinct, yet collaborative approaches to collecting water quality data and information:

3 Rivers QUEST Research Partners – Led by the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University, this component of the QUEST program includes a regimented program of bi-weekly water quality sampling. Sampling takes place on the mainstem of the 3 rivers included in the project (Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio) and includes a full detailed laboratory analysis of the samples. This detailed water chemistry and flow information is used to determine the loading of Total Dissolved Solids and other parameters.

3 Rivers QUEST Volunteer Organizations - In each region, there are also QUEST Volunteer Organizations involved in the project. This is a coordinated effort of grassroots organizations such as watershed associations and individuals that contribute to the collection of important water quality data. QUEST Volunteer Organizations collect, at a minimum, data on conductivity, pH and water temperature. These QUEST Volunteer Organizations help contribute to the data set and help provide a better overall picture of the health of three rivers basins (Monongahela, Allegheny, and Upper Ohio).

Geographical Scope - The 3 Rivers QUEST project covers 3 river basins: Allegheny, Monongahela, and Upper Ohio.

Project Significance

Data collected through the 3 Rivers QUEST program is critical in collecting baseline data in the Upper Ohio Region. Between the 3RQ Research Partners, 54 sites are monitored on a bi-weekly basis at the mainstems of the rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio) and at the mouths of major tributaries. 3RQ Volunteer Organizations monitor over 300 sites at the many smaller tributaries, headwater streams and even unnamed streams and tributaries to help provide a better overview of the health of the entire region.

Resultant data collected through the 3RQ program is made available on a data map on the project’s website, www.3RiversQUEST.org. The monitoring and dissemination of data provides researchers, state and federal agencies, industries, and citizens with critical information regarding the health of waters in the Upper Ohio River Basin.

Project Website: www.3riversquest.org

WRI 212 - 3RQ REACH

Project Name: 3RQ REACH
Project No.: WRI 212
Principle Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., Director
Project Manager: Melissa O'Neal
Funding Source(s): Colcom Foundation
Funding Amount: $350,000
Funding Duration: 7/1/15 – 3/31/18

Project Description
Through 3 Rivers QUEST REACH, or Research Enhancing Awareness via Community Hydrology, each 3RQ partner will appoint a 3RQ REACH Coordinator to serve as a liaison between researchers and the public. The coordinators will provide training to water-monitoring groups about the management tools available in the QUEST database. They also will engage with academic and educational institutions to build connections and disseminate data. All the data in this database is available via an interactive map.

The current 3RQ program, allows researchers to identify long-term trends in the three river basins for which the program takes its name – Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio. This grant allows the program to continue and expand its focus.

Watershed Restoration

WV 345 - Lambert Run Watershed Based Plan

Project Name: Lambert Run Watershed Based Plan
Project No.: WV 345
Principle Investigator: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Jason Fillhart
Funding Source(s): West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Funding Amount: $98,235
Funding Duration: 3/23/16 – 9/30/18

Project Description:
The main focus of this project is to re-write the 2003 Lambert Run Watershed Based Plan. The plan will establish up-to-date pollutant loads entering Lambert Run and assess the efficiency of six AMD treatment systems installed in the watershed. New goals will then be established to meet TMDL requirements with the ultimate goal of Lambert Run being removed from the 303(d) list of impaired streams in West Virginia.