Sun Hee Park

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

John D. Quaranta

Committee Member

Leslie C. Hopkinson

Committee Member

Hema J. Siriwardane


This thesis reports the findings of the application of Geomorphic Landform Design principles to the Royal Scot abandoned coarse coal refuse (CCR) pile located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The Royal Scot facility has many environmental concerns including severe erosion, acid-mine/rock drainage, and sediment transport. A cap and cover system is proposed to be implemented which incorporates the GLD principles. A two-layer cap and cover system will be used to reclaim the site and return it back to a stable state and reduce the production of acid-mine drainage. The system is composed of a hydraulic barrier composed of compacted CCR, and a compacted 80%/20% mixed growth layer. The 80/20 layer is composed of 80% CCR and 20% MGroTM material. The MGroTM is a short paper fiber material produced by the WestRock® paper mill in Covington, Virginia. This material provides the characteristics to allow for the growth of grass on the Royal Scot site. A suite of geotechnical laboratory testing was performed including, classification of the coarse coal refuse, compaction, permeability, and strength testing. The results showed that the compacted CCR could perform as a hydraulic barrier to reduce infiltration into the pile, and the strength for slope stability. The permeability of the CCR was in the magnitude of 10-6 to 10-7 cm/s, and the friction angle for CCR resulted in 25 degrees. The 80/20 growth layer had a permeability of 10-4 cm/s to allow water for growth, while the friction angle ranged from 10 to 16 degrees. Finite Element Modeling was performed on a geomorphic and conventional planar slope located on the site to analyze the cap and cover system for slope stability. The analysis consisted of seepage modeling, coupled with slope stability to get a worst-case scenario factor of safety after infiltration from a 100-year storm event had occurred. The geomorphic slope had increased infiltration compared to the conventional planar slope. The geomorphic slope produced higher factors of safety over 2.0, while the conventional planar slope attained factors of safety close to 1.5.