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Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5116

Prepared in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation

Hydrogeology and Simulation of Groundwater Flow at the Green Valley Reclaimed Coal Refuse Site near Terre Haute, Indiana

By E. Randall Bayless, Leslie D. Arihood, and Kathleen K. Fowler

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Abstract

The Green Valley reclaimed coal refuse site, near Terre Haute, Ind., was mined for coal from 1948 to 1963. Subsurface coal was cleaned and sorted at land surface, and waste material was deposited over the native glacial till. Approximately 2.7 million cubic yards of waste was deposited over 159 acres (92.3 hectares) in tailings ponds and gob piles. During 1993, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation, improved the site by grading gob piles, filling tailings ponds, and covering the refuse with a layer of glacial drift. During 2008, the Division of Reclamation and U.S. Geological Survey initiated a cooperative investigation to characterize the hydrogeology of the site and construct a calibrated groundwater flow model that could be used to simulate the results of future remedial actions. In support of the modeling, a data-collection network was installed at the Green Valley site to measure weather components, geophysical properties, groundwater levels, and stream and seep flow.

Results of the investigation indicate that (1) there is negligible overland flow from the site, (2) the prevailing groundwater-flow direction is from northeast to southwest, with a much smaller drainage to the northeast, (3) there is not a direct hydraulic connection between the refuse and West Little Sugar Creek, (4) about 24 percent of the groundwater recharge emerges through seeps, and water from the seeps evaporates or eventually flows to West Little Sugar Creek and the Green Valley Mine Pond, and (5) about 72 percent of groundwater recharge moves vertically downward from the coal refuse into the till and follows long, slow flow paths to eventual dischage points.

Posted September 19, 2011

For additional information contact:
Indiana Water Science Center
5957 Lakeside Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Telephone: (317) 290–3333
Fax: (317) 290–3313

http://in.water.usgs.gov/about/office.html

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Suggested citation:

Bayless, E.R., Arihood, L.D., and Fowler, K.K., 2011, Hydrogeology and simulation of groundwater flow at the Green Valley reclaimed coal refuse site near Terre Haute, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5116, 70 p., available only at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2011/5116/.



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Previous Investigations

Hydrologic Setting

Methods of Investigation

Hydrogeology of the Green Valley Reclaimed Coal Refuse Site

Simulated Groundwater Flow

Simplifying Assumptions

Model Design

Model Calibration

Selection and Sensitivity Analysis of Model Parameters

Observations and Observation Weights

Changes in the Design of the Model During Calibration

Calibration Results

Calibrated Parameter Values

Analysis of the Residuals

Model Budget

Simulated Water Levels

Simulated Flow Paths

Model Limitations and Qualifications

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited


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