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Mine Gases

TSD Gas Meter Set Up and Ready for an Investigation
TSD gas meter, set up and ready for an investigation.

OSMRE's Technical Support Division (TSD) conducts investigations, monitoring, and provides recommendations to mitigate mine gas hazards.

Coal mines can have toxic or noxious atmospheres. The toxic or noxious gases cause problems when they migrate. TSD has specialized equipment, such as gas meters, to deploy during investigations and for specialized training sessions. 

Most notable of the mine gases are carbon dioxide and methane but other gases are cause for concern. They can fill up homes, basements, garages, etc. or infiltrate water supplies and diminish the amount of oxygen available. 

TSD can offer gas meters and assistance when there is a concern.


Elevated gas concentrations are often from a point source like a coal mine, oil well, or a leak in a natural gas/sewer line. Finding the source can be complex problem. Is it coal mine-related? Is it from an abandoned mine or an active mine? TSD can offer assistance.

Aerial diagram displaying that determining the source of mine gases is not easy. The box and arrow on the left is pointing at the house for possible mine gases. The box on the right, with multiple arrows, is pointing at unaffected areas.
​​​​​​Determining the source of mine gases is not easy.
The box and arrow on the left is pointing at a house
for possible mine gases. The box on the right, with
multiple arrows, is pointing at unaffected areas.

Gases can disappear and reappear depending on the weather. Gases often show up on low pressure days (rainy days) and disappear on high pressure days (sunny days). Therefore, long term monitoring is important to determine the severity of the concern. TSD has the time and equipment needed to assist in long-term monitoring.

TSD Created Long-Term Monitoring Graph of Gas Concentrations. The graph shows barometric pressure and carbon dioxide readings from Oct. 1 2021 through Nov. 18 2022.
TSD created long-term monitoring graph of gas concentrations. 


Finding the gas migration pathway is critical to understand the problem and ultimately remediate the concern. Is the gas coming from a crack in the basement? Is the gas in the well water? Is the gas coming from downslope or upslope? TSD has equipment and experience to help locate the possible migration pathways.

Paul with soil probe
Soil probe being used by a team member in the
Gas meter seen in the ground checking pipe in McDonald, PA
Gas meter being used to check concentrations
of a pipe in the field. 

Graphic map depiction of layout of a site in McDonald, PA
      Layout of a field site. 

If remediation is the goal, TSD has experience with successful gas mitigation systems and plans. There are many different systems that can work. TSD has experts who can help guide the process of picking the right remediation plan for the site. TSD can also help monitor the site during remediation to evaluate the plan's effectiveness.

Note: TSD provides technical assistance to OSMRE field office(s) and/or state mining office(s).

For more information, please contact: and