Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Environmental Sciences


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Farrish

Second Advisor

Jason Paul

Third Advisor

Dr. Mindy Faulkner

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Yuhui Weng


The objective of this study was to estimate the time it will take for acid forming materials (pyrite) to be weathered to a state of equilibrium and thus cease to produce acid in ground and surface waters within Oak Hill Mine. This was accomplished using an ex-situ kinetic leaching study incorporating a humidity cell in a controlled laboratory setting. Leaching was conducted on soil cores obtained from the vadose zone at Oak Hill Mine and the humidity cell was used to accelerate oxidation of the pyrite within the cores.

An in-situ field study was also conducted that monitored groundwater conditions monthly to determine current redox conditions of the reclaimed mine site. Groundwater data was compared to the leachate humidity cell data to determine scaling factors that could be applied to the laboratory-based humidity cell experiment. These scaling factors coupled with regression analysis were then used to extrapolate the length of time it would take pyrite to fully oxidize at the mine site back to a state of equilibrium.

The data suggests that acid mine drainage will persist at the site within a range of 9 to 48 years. The results determined from this study are expected to help Luminant find the most cost-efficient remediation strategy to acid mine drainage in the study area.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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