Researchers with the West Virginia Water Research Institute, a program of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, are conducting a study to identify cost-effective and efficient filtration methods to reduce surface discharge aluminum levels from abandoned mine land reclamation sites. To protect West Virginia’s streams, some of which are trout streams, it is critical to ensure that aluminum concentrations from water discharges at these sites are within National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit standards.

The study is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Office of Special Reclamation. The DOE office has identified several mining sites that are currently experiencing intermittent aluminum discharges above the anticipated standards. While treatment technologies such as ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and microfiltration membrane systems are used for the removal of aluminum from various industrial waters, they are not feasible options for implementation in the coal mining industry.

To address these concerns, WVWRI researchers will construct four aluminum filtration units, each having a different filtration media. These units will be located at the end of existing treatment systems at three abandoned mine land sites in Monongalia County, W.Va. Weekly field sampling will be conducted for the next six months to determine the effectiveness of each of the four different treatment units. Findings will be presented to WV Department of Environmental Protection Office of Special Reclamation. For more information on this project, visit

Founded in 1967, WVWRI is funded through the US Geological Survey. It serves as a statewide vehicle for performing research related to water issues. WVWRI is the premier water research center in West Virginia and, within selected fields, an international leader



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CONTACT: Glenn Waldron, WV Water Research Institute