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Mining Data Analysis System (MDAS)

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3, with the support of West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and Tetra Tech, Inc., has developed a comprehensive Mining Data Analysis System (MDAS) to address Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for waterbodies exhibiting mining-related metals and pH impairments. MDAS was designed to support TMDL development in areas impacted by any combination of abandoned historical mining operations, currently permitted mining activities, and considerable natural contributions. The system is capable of efficiently simulating large watersheds with high spatial resolution for assessment and allocation to multiple point and nonpoint sources. MDAS integrates a geographical information system (GIS), comprehensive data storage and management capabilities, a dynamic watershed model, and a data analysis/post-processing system into a convenient PC-based windows interface. The dynamic watershed model simulates watershed hydrology and pollutant transport, as well as stream hydraulics and in-stream water quality. It is capable of dynamically simulating flow, sediments, metals, temperature, pH, as well as other conventional pollutants for pervious and impervious lands and waterbodies of varying order. MDAS overcomes the difficult simulation of large-scale watersheds (e.g., those on the order of 8-digit USGS HUCs or larger), while maintaining a great level of detail. The system automatically links upstream contributions to downstream segments, allowing users to freely model sub-areas while maintaining a top-down approach. MDAS's watershed model TMDL module enables users to link in-stream water quality directly to point and nonpoint source loads. Valid wasteload and load allocations can be developed based on analysis of each individual point and nonpoint source and their pollutant contributions. The system has been successfully applied to metals TMDL development in West Virginia's Tygart, Monongahela, Stony, and Elk watersheds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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