Burning Coal's Waste

by Jack M. Daly, Supervising Design Engr.; Sargent & Lundy, Chicago, IL,
Thomas J. Duffy, (M.ASCE), Sr. Struct. Proj. Engr.; Sargent & Lundy, Chicago, IL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 7, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


Culm is the waste coal and shale left behind in mountain-size piles when anthracite mining ceased in northeastern Pennsylvania. Owners of a cogeneration plant now under construction near Archbald will burn two of these culm piles to heat a commercial-size hydroponic greenhouse, reaping up to 11 harvests of lettuce and other salad vegetables a year. The 271 acre site had been mined by both open pit and deep shaft methods, so the cogeneration plant was built on solid ground and the lighter weight greenhouse placed over the old shafts. A complex drainage system includes underground storm sewers, retention ponds, ditches and diversion dikes to comply with zero-discharge regulations. Sitework also included moving some 300,000 cu yd of earth and building 1,500 ft of geotextile-reinforced earth retaining walls as high as 10 ft.

Subject Headings: Mine wastes | Coal mining | Shafts | Retention basins | Retaining structures | Drainage systems | Coal

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