The Engineering Services and Technology Transfer Branch (ESTTB) is composed of scientists and engineers of varying backgrounds. ESTTB provides technical support and technology transfer to our customers: the state regulatory authorities, the OSMRE Field Offices, OSMRE Headquarters, and academia. ESTTB is committed to objective and quality science. Technical expertise is available in the following fields: civil and mining engineering, blasting, graphic and web design, and soil science.
ESTTB conducts scientific investigations to determine mining relatedness and effects; provides technical advice to its customers; teaches technical training classes; provides technical support to the TIPS program; performs special studies and oversees research contracts; and conducts technology transfer forums, workshops and other events.
Landslides - OSMRE engineers and technical specialists provide technical assistance to states and OSMRE offices on landslide investigations.
Software Analysis of Conditions - OSMRE engineers evaluate slope stability using TIPS software package, Galena, thus creating diagrams of the findings.
An example of a landslide.
A diagram created from the TIPS software package, Galena, to evaluate slope stability.
Surface caving or sinking of a part of the earth’s crust due to underground mining excavations.
Residence Investigation - The purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the extent of mine subsidence induced damage in Pennsylvania. Engineers were providing technical assistance to Federal Reclamation Program (FRP) of the Engineering Services and Technology Transfer Branch (ESTTB).
Monitoring of Crack Development - OSMRE engineers provided technical assistance the VA mining program to determine the mining relatedness of the property damages.
External photograph of residence investigation to evaluate the extent of mine subsidence induced damage in Pennsylvania.
Photograph of a tell-tale crack monitor used to measure movement across a crack in the concrete wall inside a garage.
Technology Development and Transfer (TDT)
One of the ways that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) balances coal production with environmental protection is by providing resources for technical assistance, training, and technology development. These activities support and enhance the technical skills that states and tribes need to operate their regulatory and reclamation programs in order to effectively implement the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). Learn More about Technology Development and Transfer (TDT)
The Appalachian Region Technology Transfer team is part of the national technology transfer effort of OSMRE. ARTT provides interactive forums and workshops, publishes and presents technical papers at state/regional/national conventions, workshops, symposia, and outreach efforts to accomplish the goals.
Flight 93, Passive Treatment System - a project that provides a way to help clean up acid mine drainage water from an underground coal mine near the crash site. The treatment systems put in place on the site to combat Iron and Manganese issues in the water include the passive technology capable of reducing total suspended metals to less than 2.0 mg/L (Enhanced Solids Fe Removal) and the passive technology capable of removing manganese to less than 1.0 mg/L at pH 7 (Passive Removal of Manganese at Circumneutral pH).
Trompe, Passive Treatment System - a project that uses a modern version of the ancient technology to clean up pollution from 20th-century mining. This project is believed to be the first use of a trompe to eliminate mine water pollution.
Federal Reclamation Program (FRP)
The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) through the Federal Reclamation program (FRP) addresses abandoned coal mine (AML) sites within states and tribes that do not currently have their own program. The Appalachian Region through the ESTTB investigates and administers high priority and emergency AML projects in Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.
The Federal Reclamation Program funds work on investigating and abating AML problems in various states.
In addition, the ESTTB through FRP also:
- Provides advice to state or tribal AML programs on problem mining-relatedness, emergency and high-priority AML project design options and construction techniques;
- Designs and implement projects in Federal program states funded by federal civil penalties collected from operators
- Carry out projects funded from bonds forfeited by operators of federally-permitted sites
The program addresses environmental and public safety hazards that arise from coal mining. These AML problem types range from landslides, mine subsidence, refuse fires, mine fires, rock falls, dangerous highwalls and mine openings, mine drainage issues and mine blowouts. The ESTTB consists of engineers and physical scientists, geologists, and natural resource specialists who specialize in the abatement of all categories of abandoned coal mine related emergencies and non-emergency reclamation projects. Investigatory activities range from something as simple as a site visit to geotechnical investigations involving core drilling, sampling and mine level inspection utilizing a borehole camera. The Branch also responds to requests for technical assistance services on AML issues from other government agencies, municipalities, and individuals nationwide.
To report a potential coal mining abandoned mine land (AML) problem contact:
Mike Richmond, firstname.lastname@example.org, (412) 937-2850, or
visit OSMRE's map to report problems/concerns to the respective state representative.
Borehole Video Camera
Part of ESTTB's technical assistance, OSMRE personnel use a borehole camera to evaluate a municipal well complaint in Tennessee
The Federal Reclamation Program of OSMRE has performed more than 1,500 emergency reclamation projects. Emergency projects are eligible coal mine related problems, posing an immediate threat to the health, safety or general welfare of the public. These AML reclamation projects have involved landslides and unstable refuse lands, mine and refuse fires, hazardous mine entries, shafts and subsidence. During reclamation activities related to these problems, specialized borehole video camera work provides valuable engineering and geologic information.
The Borehole Video System (BVS) is lowered down three inch or larger boreholes and shafts to inspect the geology and structural integrity above abandoned mines. The system also inspects the interior of the underground mine opening that the borehole may penetrate. Fractures in the strata above the mine and the condition of mine pillars and roof are indicators of general geologic stability. The camera view of fractures and voids in boreholes provides information not available from core drilling or down-hole geophysics. Please also see our Borehole Camera section of the Hydrology Equipment page for more information on its use and capabilities.