Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

John Quaranta.


The purpose of this investigation primarily focuses on coal impoundment safety and early hazard potential awareness as well as addressing the need for adapting a field hardened computer so that its more advanced technology may be applied to the mining industry. The purpose was to develop a protocol based on West Virginia State and federal laws and regulations and use a mobile field computer into the inspection system for coal waste impoundments. The inspection template was constructed using paper forms presently used by MSHA and the West Virginia Water Research Institute and iterated after conducting a number of field trials. Throughout the duration of conducting field trials, many new features were created such as the inclusion photos with corresponding GPS coordinates as well as a means of recording the entire path the inspector travels while inspecting. Some features were also amended to include more text fields which will allow the inspector to comment on problems as they arise in the field instead of commenting on all problems on one part of the inspection form. A method was developed for saving the inspection file and exporting it to supplementary software for obtaining a finalized output report, which automatically populates based on the inspection information available in the file.;Overall, the procedure developed with the technology and software met the tasks within the scope of the investigation. The benefits of this mobile field computer include the ability to store more information for a field inspection including geotagged photos and expedite the inspection process by providing a resource for email and automated data storage. Utilizing the mobile field computer for impoundment inspection will improve the quality of the inspection practice as well because the information can be time stamped, which will show the time duration spent on each portion of the dam. Time stamping can be employed as a method of guaranteeing that the inspection is performed correctly and more importantly, may persuade inspectors to be more thorough in their practice. The automated inspection form will improve the coal impoundment inspection practice and the overall safety rating of coal impoundments because of its improved ability to foresee potential hazards. Further analysis of this technology to include a more refined procedure as well as a means to meet the federal requirement of obtaining mine official signatures should be considered for industrial preparation.