Acid Mine Drainage Testing in the Upper Potomac 

During April through November of 2023, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper Brent Walls and Catherine Gaudlip, our Hood College Technician, will be completing their 2nd year of acid mine drainage monitoring along three different stream reaches that feed into the Upper Branch of the Potomac River. Metals, including aluminum, manganese, and iron, will be analyzed semimonthly throughout the year. Stream volume was calculated from field measurements to develop loading estimates of the metals tested. The locations this year were highlighted by MDE as needing data to assess the impact of the lime dosers treating AMD locations.  Acid mine drainage pollution is particularly prevalent in Brent’s watershed as a result of generations of coal mining in the region. The toxins flow from both shuttered mines and mines still in operation. And those toxins are harmful to us humans as well as to aquatic life. Some of the region’s premier trout fishing habitats are in the Upper Potomac, and trout can be especially susceptible to the impact of acid mine drainage. 

Brent and Catherine are now preparing the data and final lab reports that will provide information to MDE on how well the lime dosers are working to treat acid mine water discharge.

Girl in stream testing acid mine drainage
Testing dissolved oxygen in acid mine drainage
Acid mine drainage impact
The ugly impact of acid mine drainage