• Water Quality of Runoff from Surface Mined Lands in Northern Arizona

      Kempf, J.; Leonhart, L.; Fogel, M.; Duckstein, L.; Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson; School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1978-04-15)
      Surface mining of coal in the western U.S. can cause problems of increased salinity and heavy metal contamination in runoff along with a lack of enough rainfall to sustain plant growth for reclamation. To facilitate the planning of reclamation efforts in such areas results are described of a water quality sampling experiment on the ponds and runoff at the University of Arizona Experimental Watershed on Black Mesa in northern Arizona. A systems theoretic framework is employed to model the watershed and the results of a computer simulation based on this model is used to indicate that salinity buildup could be expected over time, given a minimal change in watershed configuration, with possible development of fluoride contamination being of particular concern. Water quality tests of the pond water and runoff on Black Mesa indicated that the water is within Federal standards for drinking and irrigation, except for sodium and fluoride. It is suggested that if it is economically desirable, the collection of more data on the ponds could be used to develop a simulation model of pond subsystems along the lines of the methodology outlined in this analysis.