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An Investigation on Interactions between Plant Physiological-Hydrological-Biogeochemical processes and Acid Mine Drainage in Coal Refuse Piles using Optimality Principle Theory

Clavijo Sanabria, Hector William (2020) An Investigation on Interactions between Plant Physiological-Hydrological-Biogeochemical processes and Acid Mine Drainage in Coal Refuse Piles using Optimality Principle Theory. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Human civilization has changed the global biogeochemical cycles since last century. Carbon and nitrogen cycles have been affected by industrialization and by disturbance of natural vegetation distribution (i.e. deforestation, fires, agriculture and mining). As one of the pollution processes, Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) has played a special role on disturbances on water, carbon and nitrogen cycles. The study of this role is the main part of analysis in the present dissertation. More specifically, this work investigates the reciprocal action between hydrological and biogeochemical processes after coal mines disturbances by applying a comprehensive mathematical formulation to assess the effects of vegetation as passive phytoremediation on AMD in two coal refuse mines using an optimal plant physiological approach.
The development of this dissertation has resulted in the following findings:
1) The optimality formulation developed in this dissertation, based on minimum unit cost function, could be extended to integrate water-stress conditions in a more constrained manner than the majority of optimal formulations presented in literature. 2) The strategy of having as many as possible constraints to avoid parameter equifinality has been a point paramount significance in the formulation in this study. 3) The analysis and simulations show that the main interactions between the biogeochemical processes and pyrite oxidation as main AMD processes are driven primarily by the seasonally plant evapotranspiration through the soil moisture variation; the effect of mineral nitrogen processes and organic matter oxidation reducing the pH; and the solute plant uptake reducing the amount of concentrations. 4) The long-term simulation of passive bioremediation with grass vegetation has shown to be environmentally efficient only in the amended layer. On the other hand, using tree vegetation suggests better performance to reduce solute concentrations and increase the pH. 5) The solute transport simulations make possible to establish an estimation of the autonomous time of pollution recovery at watershed scales. 6) Finally, the use of vegetation as passive bio-remediation, such as grass or tree vegetation, is worth in terms of surface water quality.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Clavijo Sanabria, Hector Williamhwc3@pitt.eduhwc3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorLiang, Xuxuliang@pitt.eduxuliang
Jeen-Shang, Linjslin@pitt.edujslin
Elliott, Emily Meelliott@pitt.edueelliott
Zhi-Hong, Maozhm4@pitt.eduzhm4
Date: 30 July 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 22 November 2019
Approval Date: 30 July 2020
Submission Date: 28 January 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 283
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecohydrology Biogeochemical Modeling Acid Mine Drainage
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2020 19:48
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2022 05:15


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