Date of Award


Degree Name

Environmental Science


College of Engineering and Computer Sciences

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. D. Scott Simonton, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Mindy Armstead

Third Advisor

Dr. Autumn Starcher


Arbuckle Creek, located in Minden, West Virginia, is a stream that runs through Oak Hill, WV and is characterized by the presence of the Oak Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant and the history of the contamination of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) from the copious amount of contamination from the Shaffer Equipment Site and the pollution from mining completed in the area throughout the 1900’s. In order to assess the reaches of the current water quality, samples were collected and assessed for benthic macroinvertebrates, water parameters, benthic algae, and habitat. This was accomplished using the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) agency’s Stream Condition Index to conduct two separate surveys at three different sites to analyze each aspect pertaining to the water quality. This was also accomplished through assessing water quality data obtained through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and other agencies. In summation, it was found that all of the West Virginia Stream Condition Index (WVSCI) scores were under 60, indicative of a stream with poor health conditions. So, while the USEPA water quality data is indicative of impairment, the benthic macroinvertebrate surveys performed confirms it. In terms of water parameters, the temperature and dissolved oxygen levels increased between the sampling of Round One in May 2021 and Round Two in September 2021, while the conductivity and pH lowered slightly between the two sampling sets. Regarding the benthic algae, there were multiple shifts between the populations of diatoms, green algae, and cyanobacteria. The habitat clearly indicates the stream has been impacted by the historic mining that has taken place, as well as the damage done by the Shaffer Equipment Site. Overall, the contamination from mining and the leaching from the Shaffer Equipment Site appears to have data supporting the negative implications on Arbuckle Creek and its inhabitants.


Oak Hill (Fayette County, W. Va.).

Sewage disposal plants – West Virginia – Fayette County.

Coal mines and mining – West Virginia.

Polychlorinated biphenyls – Environmental aspects.

Water quality – West Virginia.