American Society of Civil Engineers

Impact Assessment and Remediation Strategies for Roadway Construction in Acid-Bearing Media: Case Study from Mid-Appalachia

by Roger C. Viadero, Jr., (corresponding author), A.M.ASCE, (Prof. and Dir., Western Illinois Univ., 1 Univ. Cir., Macomb, IL 61455 E-mail:, Ronald H. Fortney, (Res. Prof., West Virginia Univ., P.O. Box 6103, Morgantown, WV 26506. E-mail:, and Aislinn T. Creel, A.M.ASCE, (Engrg. Scientist, West Virginia Univ., P.O. Box 6103, Morgantown, WV 26506. E-mail:

Journal of Infrastructure Systems, Vol. 14, No. 3, September 2008, pp. 223-229, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The likelihood of encountering land impacted by current and/or historic coal mining activities is high when constructing roadways in the Mid-Appalachian region. Through additional disturbance of these lands, environmental impacts such as acid and dissolved metals loading and subsequent impacts to aquatic flora and fauna will ensue. Consequently, it is necessary to affect a paradigm shift in roadway design and construction to account for the presence of factors that compound the already difficult task of working in a region characterized by steep topography and aggressive geochemistry. In this study, assessments of the water chemistry and biological impacts of a waste pile containing spoils from previous mining and the presence of an exposed coal mine bench were made as representative microcosmic examples of typical conditions found in the region. Based on quantitative measurements of water quality and biological conditions, recommendations are presented for the assessment and avoidance of impacts prior to construction through acid-bearing materials and suggestions are offered for postconstruction remediation at previously impacted sites.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Chemical properties
Highways and roads
Mine wastes
Water resources