The Acid Mitigation Planning and Results of Two Appalachian Highland Streams

The water chemistry of two Appalachian Mountain streams with good physical and thermal habitat in southwest Virginia, Little Tumbling and North Fork Stony Creeks (LTC and NFSC), was assessed for this study. Both streams discharge from watershed geology with little natural carbonate bearing minerals and are acidic due to the combination of the lack of buffer and acid precipitation that contains anthropogenic nitric and sulfuric acids. Aquatic life has been adversely affected by acidification for both streams. A long term remediation project for LTC resulted in treatment with limestone (CaCO3, 60 tons) to offset stream acidity levels in January 2012. Similar remediation of NFSC is planned. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate stream water chemistry for LTC pre/post limestone treatment and upstream/downstream to establish the effectiveness of the treatment for improving water chemistry. These results were used to determine the amount of limestone necessary for the NFSC liming. Physical size, watershed geology and discharge values have been established for the streams. Water samples were collected and analyzed for pH, acid neutralizing capacity (ANC), and Ca2+ concentration. The average pH/ANC/Ca values of Little Tumbling Creek samples upstream and downstream of the liming site were 4.90/-10.5/46.2 and 5.67/8.9/74.3 and, respectively, which were lower than target values. The average pH/ANC/Ca of North Fork Stony Creek samples was 5.39/-4.3/1.6. A limestone consumption half life (1.62 yr-1) has been determined for the LTC Liming. The results were used to recommend that 40 and 100 tons of limestone be added to LTC and NFSC, respectively for acid mitigation.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Lindsay A. House

Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel M. Downey

Type: Poster

Year: 2014

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