|Mined-Out Areas as Sources of Water|
Conservative estimates indicate that water from abandoned underground
coal mines could provide water for a population of millions. Generalized
areas of underground mining have been compiled for several important
coal beds as part of the U.S.
Geological Survey's National Coal Assessment Program. Two of the
six seams that have been mapped in eastern Kentucky represent 160 billion
gallons of potential water storage. Initial studies of abandoned underground
coal mines in Johnson, Martin, Knott, and Letcher Counties show that
there are favorable sites, but they need to be proved.
Although preliminary investigations have apparently confirmed the value of this resource at several locations, the feasibility of using abandoned underground coal mines as municipal water supplies throughout Appalachia needs further study. Underground mines that have potential for development as water supplies, which are also near population centers with the greatest water demands, must be identified. The following questions need to be addressed for the region:
A map showing mined-out areas of selected seams in the county in is included in this report.