Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Jeffrey Skousen

Committee Co-Chair

Louis M. McDonald

Committee Member

Dorothy J. Vesper


The Appalachian coal industry has been very successful in developing technologies to identify, handle, treat and isolate potentially acid-forming overburden materials at coal mines in the region. However, the techniques to predict acid mine drainage potential may not adequately predict the release of total dissolved solids (TDS). High concentrations of TDS have been linked to a decrease in survival of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Our objective was to determine the effect of different solutions on overburden dissolution, and to develop a TDS release index. Forty-one overburden samples were collected from surface mines in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. Samples were grinded to a > 2mm particle size and combined with dilute HNO3, EDTA, and digested in the microwave to obtain the most efficient laboratory experiment to determine an index for TDS released. Supernatants were analyzed for pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), and other selected ions from the three solutions. Results were compared to Acid-Base Accounting parameters; i.e. maximum potential acidity and neutralization potential, as well as leaching column data from Virginia Tech to determine which parameter(s) were correlated to TDS release. EC was converted to TDS, and results showed that Maximum Potential Acidity (MPA) and TDS had the strongest relationship to TDS release. We determined a low, moderate, and high TDS release index using MPA ranging from 0.0--1.0, 1.0--3.0, and 3.0 +, respectively.