Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Larry Banta.


Following the breakthrough and release of coal slurry from the Martin County Coal Corporation impoundment near Inez, Kentucky on October 11, 2000 the United States Congress requested the National Research Council (NRC) to examine ways to reduce these types of accidents. The NRC completed their study titled "Coal Waste Impoundments" which identified numerous areas of concern and the committee presented recommendations for improving the design, operation, and safety of coal slurry impoundments. This research addresses the National Research Council's findings for introducing state-of-practice electronic instrumentation for monitoring parameters within the embankment and slurry pool area of an impoundment. This research will improve impoundment stability, safety, and environmental compliance monitoring. Previous research performed by West Virginia University (WVU) in 2003 at nineteen coal impoundments within West Virginia indicated no occurrences of electronic instrumentation in use for the real-time collection and emergency warning annunciation of important safety and environmental related parameters. The research identified that coal company operators and their design engineers were not familiar with the new instrumentation equipment and systems.;This research project has been initiated by the National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC) Coal Slurry Impoundment Project which funded WVU for the development of a prototype wireless data collection system for monitoring impoundment performance, safety, and environmental indicators at Eastern Associated Coal Corporation's Rocklick Impoundment located in Greenwood, Boone County, West Virginia. The scientific accomplishments of this research as reported herein include the engineering design, instrument system fabrication, assembly, and field construction of a prototype automatic wireless data collection system for monitoring impoundment performance (weather data, piezometric water levels, pH, Specific Conductance, and Oxidation Reduction Potential).