Following are descriptions and photos of some of the hazards
associated with abandoned mine land.
For a complete description of Priority 1 and 2 problem types, visit
the Office of Surface Mining's web page at www.osmre.gov/aml/inven/zp12typ3.htm.
For a description of Priority 3 problem types, visit www.osmre.gov/aml/inven/zp3typ3.htm.
Water that is discharged from mining or mine-related operations which
contains high levels of dissolved iron and aluminum sulfates in conjunction
with pH values less than 4.5 (acidic). It is produced when oxygen dissolved
in water reacts with pyritic (iron sulfide) materials found in association
with most coal deposits. Acid mine drainage (AMD) degrades the water quality
of streams and water supplies, often to the point of eliminating all biological
activity within the stream contaminated with AMD.
The filling of a stream bed with AML-originated silt and debris sedimentation
carried downstream by surface runoff. The sedimentation causes a blockage
of the stream resulting in the flooding of roads and/or residences and
posing a danger to improved property and the public.
Any AML-related surface mining spoil pile and bank, mine waste, or earth
material disturbed by mining activity that would be eroded and carried
downstream by surface runoff and deposited in a stream bed (thus causing
a clogged stream).This silt erosion contributes to stream sedimentation
and causes local flooding resulting in property damage and a human health,
safety, and general welfare threat.
The vertical face remaining from the final cut of a surface mining operation.
The associated pit may be either water-filled or dry.
Any AML-related large-volume water impoundment such as a mine waste embankment,
sedimentation pond, or underground mine water pool which poses a threat
of flooding and catastrophic destruction to downstream property and human
health, safety, and general welfare in the event of rupture or breach
of the water retention structure.
An AML-related mine waste pile or bank located within close distance to
a populated area, public road, or other area of intense visitation, and
posing a danger to public health, safety and, general welfare by adverse
effect resulting from an unstable steep slope or wind-blown particulate
Any AML-related land mass slide of surface-subsurface soil, mine waste
pile or bank, or surface mine spoil due to instability of its own weight
or lubricating effects of mine drainage water, that endangers human health,
safety, and general welfare and destruction of improved property located
uphill or downhill from the land mass.
The refuse or waste removed from an underground mine. This includes mine
waste, rock, pyrites, slate, or other unmarketable materials that are
separated during the cleaning process. Gob piles are generally found at
coal load-out and processing facilities.
Any AML-related dilapidated hazardous equipment or facilities (old engines,
mine cars, rails, mine entrance, load-out and processing facilities) located
within close proximity to populated areas, along public roads, or other
areas of intense visitation.
HAZARDOUS OR EXPLOSIVE
AML-related venting of hazardous or explosive gases. Normally associated
with underground mine fires.
Any strip pit with impounded water, regardless of depth or surface area,
that is considered an attractive nuisance and is located within close
proximity to a populated area, public road, or other areas of intense
visitation. The hazard must result from some AML-related feature(s) such
as steep or unstable banks and hidden underwater ledges. Hazardous water
bodies are generally associated with dangerous highwalls.
Unauthorized use of AML-impacted areas for residential or industrial waste
disposal that poses a danger from unsanitary conditions or from the toxic
emissions of burning refuse.
A surface entrance to a drift, tunnel, adit, or entry that is not sealed
or barricaded. It poses a threat when it is located in close proximity
to a populated area, public road, or other area of intense visitation.
Any surface expression such as caving, potholes, troughs, tension cracks,
or shearing faults caused by AML underground mine voids that damages property
and poses a danger to the public.
Any AML-related continuous combustion of mine waste material resulting
in smoke, haze, heat, or venting of hazardous gases located within close
distance to a populated area, public road, or other public use area and
posing a danger to the public.
Any AML-related continuous smoke, haze, heat, or venting of hazardous
gases from underground mine coal combustion posing a danger to the public.
A vertical or steeply-inclined shaft or opening that is not sealed or
barricaded, or a subsidence-caused opening that has become a hazard, regardless
of proximity to populated areas, a public road, or another area of intense
visitation, posing a threat to the public.