Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center

EPA Grant Number: R829588
Center: HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites
Center Director: Shackelford, Charles D.
Title: Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center
Investigators: Woods, Sandra L.
Institution: Colorado State University
Current Institution: Colorado State University , Colorado School of Mines
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: April 15, 2002 through April 14, 2004
Project Amount: $242,500
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management


The proposed Center will focus on the geochemical, biological, hydrological/mineralogical and engineering aspects of environmental problems associated with mining and mine wastes with the goal of developing new or improved methods or technologies that are cost effective and lead to clean ups that are protective of human health and the environment. A common theme among these environmental problems is contamination of all media (air, ground water, soil, sediments, and surface water) resulting from a host of metals, primarily As, Cd, Cu, Mn, Mo, Pb, and Zn, and a wide variety of sources (e.g., acid drainage from adits and sulfide bearing waste piles, exposed ore zones, heap-leach spoils, mine waste piles and sediments, slag piles, fluvial tailings deposits, and tailings and waste rock piles).

The types of contamination and the specific processes required to address mine waste problems are identified within the structure of five focus areas: (1) site characterization and contaminant transport/transformation; (2) surface water and sediment transport; (3) treatment processes; (4) technologies; and (5) ecological and human health toxicity. Each of these focus areas is an essential component of the remediation process, and will include basic and applied research. Mathematical and physical models will be used to better understand processes and to help extend the results of the basic research to field demonstrations and applications. Training, technology transfer and outreach programs will focus on the development of new technologies; these programs will provide educational information to allow communities to make informed decisions concerning environmental contamination; and they will provide technical assistance to communities and other stakeholders with an ultimate goal of redeveloping brownfields sites.


Project 1 will focus on understanding and quantifying the effects of natural organic matter (NOM) on the toxicity, bioavailability, transport and transformations of As and Se in aquatic systems. Project 2 will focus on surface water and sediment transport, with an emphasis on the fate and transport of metals in rivers from mining wastes, to develop a predictive scientific methodology for watershed rehabilitation strategies and Total Maximum Daily Loads. Project 3 will evaluate the effect of organic matter characteristic and type on organic products produced by microbial populations, on microbial population distributions, and metal speciation to improve performance of microbially active permeable reactive barriers. Project 4 will evaluate the effect of organic matter characteristic and type on organic products produced by microbial populations, on microbial population distributions, and metal speciation to characterize the recovery of a specific stream ecosystem from mining pollution.

Expected Results:

The results of projects 1, 2 and 4 will directly support risk assessments related to environmental impacts of mine waste sites through an improved understanding of the bioavailability, transport, and ecological impacts, respectively, of metals emanating from such sites. Project 3 will improve our ability to remediate these impacts based on the cleanup goals established from such risk assessments. Research, technology transfer, and outreach objectives will be achieved through multi-disciplinary teams spanning multiple institutions, linkages to existing HSRC's, and a wide variety of information transfer media.

Relevant Web Sites:

Collateral grants address outreach activities related to Brownfields. This grant will also be the vehicle for future additional federal funds, in addition to those committed for core grants, for supporting research and outreach activities at the Center.

Core Grant: R829515

Supplemental Keywords:

acid mine drainage, remediation, mine waste, risk assessment., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, National Recommended Water Quality, Bioavailability, Waste Treatment, Remediation, Contaminant Candidate List, Monitoring/Modeling, Fate & Transport, Hazardous Waste, Ecological Risk Assessment, Environmental Engineering, Geology, Hazardous, fate and transport, risk assessment, contaminated sediments, mathematical model, hazardous waste treatment, fate and transport , contaminant transport, lead, acid mine drainage, contaminated sediment, mine tailings, cleanup, sediment transport, modeling, surface water, contaminated soil, total maximum daily loads, manganese, Zinc, Selenium, toxicity, mining, copper, environmental toxicant, risk assessments, water quality, cadmium, arsenic, metals, microbial populations, contaminant transport models, mining wastes, mining impacted watershed

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final Report