Developed revegetation plans using fly ash/soil mixtures or fly ash alone in lieu of conventional soil cover at fly ash disposal sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Connecticut.
Demonstrated the feasibility of direct revegetation of high-pH, high-soluble-salts flue gas desulfurization sludge (FGD) in the laboratory and the field on a two-acre portion of an 800-acre FGD impoundment in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Obtained variances for direct revegetation of high pH, high-boron fly ash to control erosion at fly ash disposal sites in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Both projects were implemented successfully in 1994.
Studies and variance applications to drastically reduce cover soil thickness at nine fly ash impoundments in Pennsylvania totaling approximately 500 acres. Regulatory response to date has been encouraging.
Direct revegetation of "red dog" (burnt carbonaceous shale) at an abandoned mine site in Michigan.
Conducted field and laboratory studies and developed direct revegetation designs/specifications for three DNR/DOE abandoned coal soil/refuse sites in West Virginia.
Conducted field and laboratory studies and developed conventional and direct revegetation designs/specifications and cost estimates for each of two burning, abandoned coal refuse sites for Pennsylvania Department of Enviromental Resources (PADER). Included use of unique sampling procedures to account for spatial variability in immediate acidity and pyrite content. Included several corroborative lime requirement assay methods.
Designed several "replacement" wetlands to mitigate loss of wetland habitat acreage from stream relocations associated with road construction near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Designed over 60 acres of replacement wetlands to compensate for impacts due to a dam expansion in Pennsylvania.
Designed tree/shrub hedgerows on various upland sites. Designed biotechnical substitutes for rip-rap to optimize wildlife food and cover availability.
Design of a replacement wetland habitat using unique geosynthetic liner system and a passive supplementary rainwater irrigation system based on water budget models.
Permitted and designed three replacement wetlands, totaling 10 acres, to compensate for development impacts in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Work included use of piezometers and hydrologic models to evaluate hydrology and meet hydrologic design goals.
Evaluated passive treatment efficiency of volunteer wetlands at an Ohio steel mill.
Developed landfarming plan for petroleum contaminated soils in North Carolina.
Evaluated relationships between soil and fly ash chemistry and physical properties on plant growth and uptake of nutrients and trace/toxic elements at a West Virginia fly ash disposal site with exceptionally high boron solubility. Executed follow-up research at a sister site with more phytotoxic fly ash. Identified boron-tolerant species, minimum soil cover requirements, and presented results. Succeeded in obtaining a variance to reduce soil cover thickness from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADER).
Conducted feasibility study to economically compost the pre-sorted cellulosic fraction of municipal solid waste with excess liquid animal manure using a proprietary Austrian process. Work was done under funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
Developed work plan and QA/QC plan for remedial design feasibility study for 33-million-ton, heavy metal contaminated Cinder Bank CERCLA (Superfund) Site in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Studies were designed to evaluate emissions from internal fires within the Cinder Bank, delineate fires within the Cinder Bank, and perform material testing and computer modeling to evaluate the hydrologic performance of unconventional and conventional capping systems designed to support vegetation and reduce infiltration and erosion.
Evaluated compost and fly ash as soil substitutes and as major soil amendments. Evaluated soil chemistry, plant uptake of nutrients and potentially toxic elements, plant performance, and changes in soil chemical/physical properties at a fly ash amended anthracite refuse site.
Evaluated the extent and agricultural impact of airborne fly ash contamination of tobacco crops. Conducted electron microscopy and surface analyses of fly ash, soil, and organic particles adhering to tobacco leaf surfaces and to particle collectors. Conducted analyses of fly ash, soils, and tobacco leaf tissue to trace contaminant levels.
Sampled and assayed urban garden soils for nutrient and heavy metal contamination levels in a Penn State Extension role for the Philadelphia Urban Garden Program.
Evaluated the effect of soil physical and chemical properties on success and failure of desirable/undesirable vegetation in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA. Included evaluation of saline/sodic soils.
Evaluated chemical and physical properties of soils of importance to plant growth and survival and species selection for Pittsburgh area Allegheny West Authority highway beautification projects.
Provided sampling, analysis, and expert witness testimony as part of litigation concerning claims that the quality of soil provided under contract did not meet the expectations of the buyer.
Past President and Vice President of Volunteers for Outdoor Allegheny (VOA), an organization dedicated to development, maintenance, and improvement of public-access natural areas in the Allegheny County region, including trails and parks. Projects included trail maintenance, roundup of over-populating Canada Geese for transfer to more appropriate habitat, and planting of over 1,200 native tree species in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park.
Co-Chair of Earth Day '90 Pittsburgh Region tree planting committee. Coordinated procurement of trees and shrubs, obtained funding, developed easy-to-use planting instructions, contacted allied organizations, and trained leaders for planting 18,000 seedlings in eight locations. Designed and distributed several thousand black locust tree seed packets to the public. All of the above was accomplished with a budget under $600.
Member of Allegheny West Authority Three Rivers Parkway Champions Beautification Action Committee. Responsible for encouraging quality development and beautification efforts in the corridor between the new Pittsburgh International Airport and the Fort Pitt Tunnels.
Buck, J. K. and R. J. Houston. 1987. Direct Revegetation of Four Coal Waste Sites in Pennsylvania - Four Approaches. In C.L. Carlson and J. H. Swisher (ed.), Innovative Approaches to Mined Land Reclamation. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
Baker, D.E. and J.K. Buck. 1988. Use of Computerized Expert Systems, Unique Soil Testing Methods, and Monitoring Data in Land Management Decisions. In Proceedings of the 1988 Mine Drainage and Reclamation Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Buck, J.K. and R.J. Houston. 1988. Direct (Soil-Less) Revegetation of Anthracite Refuse Using Coal Fly Ash as a Major Soil Amendment. In Proceedings of the 1988 Mine Drainage and Reclamation Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.