Groundwater Quality and Geochemistry of West Virginia's Southern Coal Fields   [open pdf - 11MB]

From the Abstract: "Coal mining has been the dominant industry and land use in West Virginia's southern coal fields since the mid-1800s. Mortality rates for a variety of serious chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer in Appalachian coal mining regions, are higher than in areas lacking substantial coal mining activity within the Appalachian Region or elsewhere in the United States. Causes of the increased mortality and morbidity are not clear, but poor diet, high rates of smoking, socioeconomic factors, and the quality of groundwater used by area residents are all possible contributing factors. This study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, with grant support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess the quality of groundwater in southern West Virginia. The data from this assessment of groundwater quality may be used by the CDC and other agencies to potentially investigate the role or lack thereof of groundwater quality with respect to mortality and morbidity rates in the region. The study was conducted in a region where a high density of current or past coal mining combined with a lack of advanced sewage treatment could affect concentrations of commonly occurring constituents plus contaminants, including nitrate, trace metals, major ions, indicator bacteria, radon, hydrogen sulfide, and dissolved hydrocarbons."

Report Number:
Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5059
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States Geological Survey: https://usgs.gov/
Media Type:
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