TR 4 - Vegetative Stabilization of Spent Oil Shales, H.P. Harbert and W.A. Berg, December 1974

Disposal of massive amounts of spent shale will be required if an oil shale industry using surface retorting is developed. Some of the spent shale may be returned to mined-out areas; however, large amounts of spent shale would probably be disposed of by compacting it into canyons. The surface of these piles might be stabilized by establishment of vegetation directly on the spent shale or on soil cover over the spent shale. Spent shales are too salty for plant growth and very deficient in plant available nitrogen and phosphorus. The unanswered question on spent shale is: can adequate vegetation cover, to control erosion, be maintained under natural precipitation conditions once the stand has been established by intensive management practices? This study was designed with the primary objectives of investigating surface stability of, and salt movement in, spent shales and spent shales covered with soil after vegetation had been established by intensive treatment, and then left under natural precipitation conditions.