Listen to Acid Rock Drainage and Water Quality: Potential Environmental Health Impacts in Alaska recorded 4/30/14.

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014. 9-10 am Alaska Time; 10-11 am Pacific, 1-2 pm Eastern Time.

Alaska Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE-AK)

About the call:

Acid Rock Drainage and Water Quality: Potential Environmental Health Impacts in Alaska

Listen to environmental geochemist Kendra Zamzow, Ph.D. and Jill Yordy of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center discuss how acid mine drainage affects water chemistry and environmental health. Acid rock drainage is one of the major sources of toxic metals associated with mining. When waste rock excavated from the mine is exposed to air and water, it chemically reacts to form sulfuric acid, essentially dissolving the surface of the rock. Metals leach out from the rock and may contaminate both surface and ground water. Metal leaching of some elements like arsenic and selenium can also occur without acid.  Direct exposure to these metals can be harmful to fish and people, and indirectly metal reactions can lead to changes in water quality that affect aquatic habitat. 

This call is presented by ACAT’s Alaska Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE-Alaska).

Call Recording / Podcast (mp3)


Dr. Zamzow is an environmental biogeochemist and the Alaska representative for the Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2). She specializes in microbial interactions with trace metals, environmental toxicology, and processes relating to acid rock drainage, metal leaching, and water quality.

Since joining CSP2, Dr. Zamzow has provided technical analysis of projects including copper heap leach closure, arsenic chemistry in a tailings impoundment, mercury release from thermal processing of gold, potential for acid drainage, and chemistry of underground coal gasification. She has commented on regulatory issues including federal gold mine mercury air emission regulations and Alaska coal and water quality regulations.

Recently she completed an American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the EPA Office of Research and Development in Washington, DC. She currently lives in Chickaloon, Alaska.

Jill Yordy works for  the Northern Alaska Environmental Center as their Clean Water and Mining Program Director to advocate for environmental conservation and sustainable resource management in Alaska. Jill originally hails from the front range of Colorado but has called Fairbanks her home since August of 2009. Having spent her early childhood in a tiny mountain town without paved roads, she has had a lifelong relationship with wilderness. She has a BA in Anthropology with minors in Museum Studies and Classical Studies from Luther College in Iowa. Since arriving in Fairbanks for Master’s level studies in archaeology and stable isotope research at UAF she has traveled all over interior and northern Alaska, worked for an environmental testing firm, and fallen in love with Alaska.


NOTE: New Resources added 5/1/14 by Kendra Zamzow, PhD and Jill Yordy

Organizations with more information:

Documentary: Where the Heck is Donlin?

Where the Heck is Donlin? from Bjørn on Vimeo.

Mine sites

Mine waste prediction and management (Note, there are reports and research available at this website)


Past CHE-Alaska Calls with Kendra Zamzow

Mercury Pollution in Alaska: Sources of Contamination, Health Effects, and Global Actions, recorded 2/23/11

  • Speakers: Dr. Kendra Zamzow of the Center for Science in Public Participation; Dr. Alan H. Lockwood Professor of Neurology at University of Buffalo; Sarah Petras, MPH, Environmental Health Coordinator of Alaska Community Action on Toxics.
  • Website | Resources | Recording

Gold Mining and Mercury in Alaska: A Potential Threat to Fisheries and Public Health, recorded 2/24/2009

  • Speakers: Glenn Miller, Ph.D., University of Nevada; Kendra Zamzow, Ph.D., Center for Science in Public Participation; and Bonnie Gestring, Earthworks.
  • Recording

Hardrock Mining and Community Health: New Opportunities for Community Involvement, recorded 11/19/2008

  • Speakers: Amy Crook, British Columbia program coordinator for the Center for Science in Public Participation; Catherine Coumans, Research Coordinator and responsible for the Asia-Pacific Program at MineWatch Canada; Dr. Kendra Zamzow, environmental geochemist serving the Alaska representative for the Center for Science in Public Participation.
  • Recording

Related Actions:

Petition congress to fix the Chemical Safety Improvement Act

Related Events:

See ACAT’s Event Calendar.

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Over 60 past CHE-Alaska Calls are now available as podcasts.

ACAT_Fall_2013_Newsletter (pdf)