DEP - Mineral Resources Management

 

1. Slippery Rock Creek Knox Office

Roger Bowman
814-797-1191
email:
robowman@state.pa.us

For additional information, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition home address at: http://www.srwc.org/

Latest News:

- The Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition is the 1999 winner of a Three Rivers Environmental Award in the community-environmental organization category for their acid mine drainage remediation efforts in the watershed and their continueing efforts in the development of passive treatment technology at the Jennings' Environmental Education Center. Margaret Dunn, R.P.G. accepted the award on behalf of the Coalition. The $1000 award was donated to the Institute for the Environment at Slippery Rock University to be used in the continuation of their stream biology efforts in the watershed.

- A Watershed Restoration and Assistance Program (WRAP) grant for $50,000 has been awarded to Stream Restoration Inc. to reclaim approximately 20,000 yd3 of abandoned refuse piles on the Hindman property in the Murrin Run subwatershed (Priority Area 9 - Goff Station). This project will be completed in conjunction with the reclamation of an abandoned Brookville strip cut on the Tiche property. Quality Aggregates will perform the earthwork activity with consultation from Stream Restoration Inc. and Fike Associates. AquaScape will design a replacement wetland in the flood plain of Murrin Run upon removal of the refuse piles.

- The Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) is in the process of completing mapping projects in the Goff Station and Big Bertha areas of the watershed for use by consultants for future design of acid mine drainage remediation systems.

- Amerikohl Mining Inc. along with Stream Restoration Inc. is currently developing a plan to collect the discharges in the headwaters of Seaton Creek (Priority Area 5 - De Sale). Passive treatment technology for those discharges will be developed in the future should additional funding become available.

HEADWATERS - SLIPPERY ROCK CREEK

 

STREAM QUALITY MAP
(NOT TO SCALE SHOWN)

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

Approximately 2500 miles of stream are currently degraded by acid mine drainage in Pennsylvania. The Comprehensive Mine Reclamation Strategy (CMRS) has been developed to organize partnerships between governmental agencies, industry, academic communities, and local support groups to collectively address stream degradation from acid mine drainage in a holistic fashion on a watershed basis. The headwaters area of SLIPPERY ROCK CREEK was chosen as one of the watersheds to be evaluated under the PA Comprehensive Mine Reclamation Strategy. This study area was selected based on the manageable size of the watershed, degree of pollution and local support. The formation of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition arose from the CMRS concept. This partnership is spear-headed by Margaret H. Dunn, R.P.G. and includes approximately eighteen businesses, six academic institutions, and twelve governmental agencies that participate. (See Table 1)

The purposes of the Slippery Rock Project are as follows: 1. To characterize the water quality of the study area; 2. To document the acid mine drainage problems in the watershed study area; 3. To develop an inventory and prioritize the acid mine drainage problems in the watershed based on pollutional loading to the streams from acid, iron, and aluminum; and
4. To propose/implement acid mine drainage remediation techniques. The ultimate goal of this project is to improve the water quality within the existing ecosystem to allow a wide variety of aquatic/semi-aquatic communities to re-habitate the streams. According to the PA Fish and Boat Commission, an ideal water quality to strive for in the ecosystem would be as follows: pH 6-6.5; alkalinity > acidity by 20 mg/l; Iron < 0.5 mg/l; Aluminum < 0.5 mg/l.

TABLE 1: SLIPPERY ROCK WATERSHED PARTICIPANTS (As of 4/27/98)

INDUSTRY

ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS

LANDOWNERS

GOVERNMENT

Amerikohl Mining Inc.

Kerry Coal Company

Allegheny Minerals

Quality Aggregates,

Milestone Crushed, Inc.

Rosebud Mining Company

Ben- Hal Mining Company

REC-MIX

Chester Engineers

Scrubgrass Power Plant

Stream Restoration, Inc.

BioMost, Inc.

CDS Associates

Hedin Environmental

Fike Associates, Inc.

AquaScape

Puryear Excavating & Trucking

Jesteadt Excavating

H.R. Stewart, Jr. Excavating

"The Slippery Rock Watershed
Coalition"

Slippery Rock University

Grove City College

Allegheny College

Butler County Comm. College

The University of Pittsburgh

Moniteau School District

- APPROXIMATELY 500 -

PA DEP: DMO, BMR, BAMR,
Northwest Regional
Office

PA Game Commission

Penn’s Corner Charitable Trust

Butler County Cons. District

Natural Resources Cons. Service

W.P.C.A.M.R.

PA DCNR

EPA

Washington, Venango, Marion &
Cherry Townships

PA Fish & Boat Commission

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION OF STUDY AREA

The Slippery Rock Creek study area is located approximately 4 miles (6.44 km) south of Interstate 80 in northern Butler County (Exit 4, I-80 at Clintonville). The watershed lies 10 miles (16.10 km) east of the town of Slippery Rock within Venango, Washington, Marion, and Cherry townships. It is flanked by the communities of Boyers and Eau Claire, and approximately bound by State Routes 38, 58, 308, and 4010. The Slippery Rock Creek study area is bound within the Eau Claire, Hilliards, West Sunbury, and Barkeyville 7.5 minute quadrangles.

The aerial extent of the watershed is 27 mi2 (70 km2) of which 60 % drains to the Main Branch of Slippery Rock Creek and 40 % to the Seaton Creek/Murrin Run subwatershed.

There are approximately 44.4 miles (71.48 km) of stream, as measured by planimeter from the USGS topograhic quadrangles, flowing through the watershed area of which 31.4 miles (50.55 km) have been impacted by acid mine drainage. Geographic features include shallow to moderate stream gradients (3 % Ù 10 %) consisting of flood plain wetlands with forested uplands above the stream corridor. The topographic elevations range from 1500 feet (457 meters) above sea level in the highest points near Eau Claire and Parsonville falling to approximately 1200 feet (365.6 meters) above sea level at the confluence of Slippery Rock and Seaton Creeks near Boyers. PA State Game Lands No. 95 makes up 15 % of the watershed area with the remaining 85 % belonging to over 500 landowners. An abandoned spur link of the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad runs along the flood plain of Slippery Rock Creek from Boyers to Hilliards.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Since the CMRS watershed effort in the headwaters of Slippery Rock Creek began in 1994, 74 mine drainage sources have been identified with 59 contributing acid loading to the streams. Approximately 90 % of the acid loading to the streams is released from 35 discharges.

Abandoned deep mine complexes and strip operations alike account for 50 % each of the total acid load. Tables 2 and 3 show the magnitude of the acid load on the watershed.

The magnitude of the iron and aluminum loading is shown in Table 4.

TABLE 2: MAGNITUDE OF ACID LOAD ON WATERSHED STREAMS

TRIBUTARY

AVERAGE ACID LOAD (lbs/day) ©

PERCENT OF TOTAL ACID LOAD

SEATON CREEK

1059.0

37.3 %

THOMAS TRIBUTARY

600.0

21.1 %

MAIN BR.- SLIPPERY ROCK

374.4

13.2 %

MURRIN RUN

364.0

12.8 %

HILLIARDS BR. – SLIPPERY ROCK

173.0

6.1 %

ACT 43 TRIBUTARY

85.0

3.0 %

ABEL/DRESHMAN TRIBUTARY

71.0

2.5 %

LUCAS TRIBUTARY

65.0

2.3 %

HIGGINS CORNER TRIBUTARY

38.0

1.3 %

PISOR ROAD TRIBUTARY

6.0

0.2 %

BALESTRIERI TRIBUTARY

6.0

0.2 %

TOTAL:

2841.4

100.0 %

TABLE 3: MAGNITUDE OF ACID LOAD ON SUBWATERSHEDS

SUBWATERSHED

AVERAGE ACID LOAD (lbs/day ) ©

PERCENT OF TOTAL ACID LOAD

SEATON CREEK

1195.0

42.0 %

MURRIN RUN

1055.0

37.0 %

SLIPPERY ROCK CREEK

591.4

21.0 %

TOTAL:

2841.4

100.0 %

TABLE 4: MAGNITUDE OF IRON AND ALUMINUM LOADS ON SUBWATERSHEDS
(lbs/day) (lbs/day)

SUBWATERSHED

AVG. IRON LOAD©

% OF IRON LOAD

AVG. AL. LOAD ©

% OF AL. LOAD

SEATON CREEK

306.8

49.3 %

40.8

27.3 %

MURRIN RUN

55.7

9.0 %

86.9

58.1 %

SLIPPERY ROCK CR

259.9

41.7 %

21.8

14.6 %

TOTAL:

622.4

100.0 %

149.5

100.0 %

© Average acid, iron, and aluminum load values calculated from 1994 - 1997 water quality and flow data collected by the Knox DMO. Climatological data from the 1970 Scarlift Report was utilized for loading calculations when flow data was unavailable .

Since 1995, nine passive treatment systems costing approximately $378,500 have been installed. They remove 45.75 % of the acid load from the point-source discharges to a 3 mile (4.83 km) section of the main branch of Slippery Rock Creek flowing through PA State Game Lands No. 95. In addition to neutralizing the acidity and containing the metals, these systems also contribute an alkalinity boost of approximately 425 lbs/day to the stream during peak flows.

(See Table 5)

TABLE 5: COMPLETED PASSIVE TREATMENT PROJECTS
MAIN BRANCH - SLIPPERY ROCK CREEK

(As of 6/25/99)

PROJECT SITE

TYPE OF PROJECT

PROJECT BUILDERS

FUNDING SOURCE

COST

SR 115

(Argentine)

Retention Pond/

Wetland

NRCS, Butler County

Cons. District,

H.R. Stewart, Jr.

CONOCO Fines

$ 31,000.00

SR 114B

(Argentine)

* ALD/Wetlands

Hedin Environmental,

CDS Associates,

Jesteadt Excavating

Bond Forfeitures

Black Fox Mining

$ 30,000.00

SR 114D

(Argentine)

* ALD/Wetlands

Hedin Environmental,

CDS Associates,

Jesteadt Excavating

Bond Forfeitures

Black Fox Mining

$ 30,000.00

SR 94(Bertha)

(Higgins Corner)

* ALD

Butler County Cons.

District & PA Game

Commission

CONOCO Fines

$ 30,000.00

SR 85/SR 86

(Ferris)

** VFS

Knox DMO,

Kerry Coal Co.

Reclamation

Agreement

$ 50,000.00

SR 87/ SR 88

(Ferris)

** VFS

Knox DMO, Harrisburg BMR, Penn’s Corner, &

Puryear Excavating

EPA 104(b)(3) grant

FY ’94/ ’95

$ 66,000.00

SR 84 Õ SR 88

(Ferris)

Retention Pond

Knox DMO,

Kerry Coal Co.

Reclamation

Agreement

$ 35,000.00

SR 109

** VFS

Knox DMO, Harrisburg BMR, Penn’s Corner, &

Puryear Excavating

EPA 104(b)(3) grant

FY ’96/ ’97

$ 55,000.00

SR 101A

* ALD/Wetlands

Hedin Environmental,

Bio-Most/Stream Restoration Inc., CDS Associates, Jesteadt Excavating, BAMR

EPA 319 grant

$ 51,500.00

TOTAL:

     

$ 378,500.00

* ALD – anoxic limestone drain ** VFS – vertical flow system

An additional five passive treatment systems have been tentatively proposed that will cost approximately $ 514,000. The projects will be funded by EPA grants and bond forfeitures or

Act 43 proposals. Act 43 legislation provides a means by which a surety bonding company can reclaim a mine site where the surety’s bond money has been forfeited and collected by the DEP. An additional acid load reduction of: 23.0 % to the main branch of Slippery Rock Creek; 1.9 % to Seaton Creek; and 8.0 % to Murrin Run is anticipated should these construction projects move forward. (See Table 6)

TABLE 6: ADDITIONAL PROPOSED PASSIVE TREATMENT PROJECTS

PROJECT SITE

SUBWATERSHED

PROJECT TYPE

PROPOSED BY:

FUNDING

COST

SR 89

Slippery Rock Creek

(Add Alk.) + Comb. of Vert. Flow Systems

Bio-Most/Stream Restoration Inc., Hedin Environmental,

BAMR

EPA 319 grant

$ 125,000.00

12.1(6J)

Murrin Run

ALD/Pond/Wetland

BAMR or Amerikohl/Hedin/

Bio-Most Inc.

Bond Forfeiture or Act 43, (B&D Site,

SMP #10810101)

$ 80,000.00

12.2(9F)

Murrin Run

Vert. Flow Systems/

Wetlands

BAMR or Amerikohl/Hedin/

Bio-Most Inc

Bond Forfeiture or Act 43, (Ruth Site,

SMP #10820121)

$ 125,000.00

9B

Murrin Run

ALD/Wetlands

BAMR or Amerikohl/Hedin/

Bio-Most Inc

Bond Forfeiture or Act 43, (Ruth Site,

SMP #10820121)

$ 50,000.00

10A/10B

Seaton Creek

Vert. Flow Systems/

Wetlands

BAMR or Amerikohl/Hedin/

Bio-Most Inc

Bond Forfeiture or Act 43, (Beatty Site,

SMP #10800122)

$ 134,000.00

TOTAL:

       

$ 514,000.00

In addition to passive treatment systems, reclamation efforts in the watershed have restored approximately 82.4 acres (32.37 hectares) of abandoned tipple area, refuse piles, and open pits through surety company agreements and the landowner reclamation program. (See Table 7 )

TABLE 7: ADDITIONAL RECLAMATION EFFORTS:

PROJECT SITE

PROJECT TYPE

PROJECT BUILDER

STATUS

FUNDING

© Sunbeam Tipple

Tipple Reclamation: 21.2

acres + coal ash

Kerry Coal Co., Knox DMO

Completed:

Reclamation Agreement

© SR 101, SR81, Ferris,

SR 114, T-637, Higgins

Refuse Pile Reclamation:

5.2 acres + REC-LIME

Butler County Cons. Dist.,

PA Game Commission

Completed:

Conoco Fines

© Abel/Dreshman

(Chernicky Site)

Abandoned Surface Mine

Project: 56 acre of reclamation + coal ash

Amerikohl Mining Inc.,

Fike Associates, BAMR,

BCCD, Knox DMO

In- Progress:

(Nearing Completion)

Landowner Reclamation

Program

* Portion of Argentine Piles

located on Cook &

Mathias properties

* Refuse Pile Reclamation:

2 acres + alk. Addition

(3,000 yd3) , cost: $ 20,000

Rosebud Mining Co.,

Knox DMO

* Proposed:

Reclamation Agreement

* Goff Station: Abandoned

Brookville Cut on Tiche

Property and Hindman

Refuse Piles + Erico

Bridge Refuse Piles

* 22 acre abandoned strip

cut reclamation + coal ash

& 7 acre refuse pile

reclamation (38,000 yd3)

Bio-Most/Stream Restoration Inc., Quality Aggregates Inc., AquaScape, Fike Associates,, BAMR,

BCCD, Knox DMO &

DEP Northwest Region

* Proposed:

Reclamation Agreement

& WRAP grant

TOTAL:

© 82.4 ac., (32.37 ha)

     

© Completed * Proposed

The potential remediation plan for the Slippery Rock Creek Watershed Project has been broken down into ten priority areas. Alkaline addition, passive treatment, and/or discharge abatement have been proposed for each priority area to remediate the discharges. This priority order has been developed to build on the restoration activities that have been ongoing since 1994. The severity of the loading concentrations from iron and aluminum reveals that passive treatment alone may not always be an option for long term performance efficiency. An estimated $ 5,029,500.00 would be needed to complete alkaline addition and passive treatment projects to remediate the 59 point source discharges and improve the water quality of 31.4 miles (50.55 km) of stream. (See Table 8) The estimated costs are based upon the size and number of systems needed for each priority area as compared to the cost of completed projects built under the EPA grants and proposed for the Act 43 sites.

TABLE 8: SLIPPERY ROCK CREEK WATERSHED REMEDIATION PLAN
PRIORITY ORDER/COST ESTIMATE OF PASSIVE TREATMENT

PRIORITY AREA

SITE DESIGNATION

TRIBUTARIES

EST. IMPROVE- MENT LENGTH

ESTIMATED COST

1

Argentine

Slippery Rock Cr Subw

Main Br. – Slippery Rock Cr. + Pisor Road Trib.

6.4 mi. (10.3 km)

$ 340,000.00

2

Higgins Corner

Slippery Rock Cr Subw

Main Br. – Slippery Rock Cr. + Higgins Corner Trib.

1.8 mi. (2.9 km)

$ 306,500.00

3

Ferris

Slippery Rock Cr Subw

Main Br. – Slippery

Rock Cr. + Whiskerville Trib.

4.9 mi. (7.90 km)

$ 261,000.00

4

Hilliards

Slippery Rock Cr Subw

Hilliards Br. – Slippery Rock Cr.

3.2 mi. (5.15 km)

$ 617,000.00

5

De Sale

Seaton Creek Subw

Seaton Creek + Abel/Dreshman Trib.

4.0 mi. (6.44 km)

$ 700,000.00

6

Erico Bridge

Seaton Creek Subw

Seaton Creek

1.0 mi. (1.61 km)

$ 750,000.00

7

Act 43

Murrin Run Subw

Murrin Run +

Act 43 Trib

2.6 mi. (4.18 km)

$ 555,000.00

8

Thomas

Murrin Run Subw

Thomas Trib. +

Balestrieni Trib.

2.7 mi. (4.35 km)

$ 750,000.00

9

Goff Station

Murrin Run Subw

Murrin Run +

Seaton Creek

3.2 mi. (5.15 km)

$ 475,000.00

10

Lucas

Seaton Creek Subw

Lucas Trib.

1.6 mi. (2.57 km)

$ 275,000.00

TOTAL:

   

31.4 mi. (50.55 km)

$ 5,029,500.00

 

CONCLUSIONS

Acid loading from 59 AMD discharges severely pollutes five watershed streams. (i.e. Seaton Creek, Thomas Tributary, Main Branch - Slippery Rock Creek, Murrin Run, and Hilliards Branch - Slippery Rock Creek) On average, 2841.4 lbs/day of acid impact 70.7 % of the watershed streams. An evaluation of the acid loading on the subwatersheds shows the most severe problems to exist in Seaton Creek and Murrin Run. (combined: approx. 79 %)

Seaton Creek and the main branch of Slippery Rock Creek account for over 85 % of the iron loading on the watershed. Discharges to Murrin Run accounts for almost 60 % of the aluminum loading to the watershed. The intensity of the comprehensive effort since 1994 has eliminated

45.75 % of the acid load to the main branch of Slippery Rock Creek and added nearly 425 lbs/day of alkalinity at a cost of about $ 378,500. Another 23.0 % of the acid load to the main branch of Slippery Rock Creek would be eliminated if the additional projects that have been proposed move forward.

A ball park estimate of $ 5,029,500 would be needed to address the pollution from acid mine drainage by implementing alkaline addition and passive treatment technology in the 10 priority areas of the watershed remediation plan and improve 31.4 miles (50.55 km) of stream.

In addition, an estimated $ 3,897,000 is needed to clean up the abandoned surface mine and refuse piles that scar the watershed. This includes estimated amounts of $ 2,943,000 and $ 954,000 for the abandoned surface mine and refuse pile reclamations, respectively.

A total estimated amount of $ 8,926,500 would be needed to implement the entire reclamation/remediation plan for the Slippery Rock watershed project.


2. Little Toby Creek Knox Office

Douglas Caylor
814-797-1191
email:
dcaylor@state.pa.us

The Little Toby Creek project has been a work in progress for decades. It is part of an Appalachian Clean Streams Initiative and DEP’s Comprehensive Mine Reclamation Strategy. The DEP is especially proud of the partnerships that have developed among federal, state and local governmental agencies, the Toby Creek Watershed Association (TCWA), the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Elk County Conservation District, Clarion River Basin Commission and the mining industry to coordinate and implement efforts to improve water quality in the Little Toby Creek watershed. The team has worked together to make the following improvements:

Operation Scarlift, a major reclamation effort started in the mid 1970’s by the predecessor to DEP, DER. The reclamation work completed under this project is one of the primary reasons that the lower 12.2 miles of Little Toby Creek now serves as a popular stocked trout fishery.

In July, 1993, the PA Fish Commission completed an aquatic biological investigation of both the Little Toby and Brandy Camp Creek. This data will provide a means to assess the effectiveness of the remediation efforts.

The new Limestone Treatment Plant was constructed with the last of the Scarlift money is run DEP and is nearly fully operational. This $2.5 million active treatment facility was designed to handle up to 2000 gpm of acid mine drainage when running at full capacity. Additionally, a smaller version of the main plant was constructed at the headwaters of the Little Toby Creek and is currently treating that stream segment.

An ongoing water sampling inventory and monitoring program for the upper 31 square miles of the watershed was implemented by DEP in Autumn, 1994. This data is being used to guide current and future remediation efforts.

Partnering with the Headwaters Charitable Trust (HCT), DEP has pursued the construction of a passive treatment system within Kyler Hollow, designated KRU22.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the TCWA and DEP are jointly working to remedy the Hayes Run (tributary) discharge problem. Construction may be completed by Summer, 1997, utilizing DEP 319 funding.

The HCT, along with the TCWA and others are currently conducting a pilot project at the Brandy Camp discharge. To date, three different types of small-scale passive treatment systems have been constructed. These three approaches are currently being evaluated to determine the best method to use in a full treatment system. The full scale system is expected to be funded by DEP’s 10% Set Aside program. The DEP BAMR, Knox office staff and the watershed association will cooperate to test the effectiveness of various types of lime treatment on the Brandy Camp discharge (average 600 gpm). BAMR staff is in the preliminary stage of project design for this discharge. The Association and Headwaters Charitable Trust have secured property easements for the project area.

The NRCS has begun construction of a project along Coal Hollow Road to address the Largey discharge, and has constructed a passive treatment system to treat a discharge leading to Meade Run.

Energy Resources, Inc., a local mining company, in cooperation with DEP, has reclaimed three abandoned strip pits within this watershed at their own expense.

The TCWA, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, has been involved with the planting of thousands of trees on reclaimed mine lands within this watershed.

Tamburlin Brothers Coal Company (a local mining company) has incorporated plans to eliminate an acid mine drainage discharge and restore a stream channel leading to Little Toby Creek at their Caylor mine.

Fairview Coal Co., (a local mining company) is cooperating with the DEP to construct a passive treatment system which will help improve the quality of Brandy Camp Creek as part of a recent stream encroachment for their Boderocco mine.

Finally, the Little Toby Creek Watershed Association met in late March and decided that additional monitoring at five locations downstream from the confluence of Brandy Camp Creek and Little Toby Creek. The PA Fish and Boat Commission feels that this monitoring information is critical before increasing the extent of stocking trout.

Latest News:

Little Toby Creek Watershed Project, Fox Township, Elk County: Trout stocking on the Little Toby Creek has been extended approximately four miles upstream from Brockway. This trial stocking is a result of a combined effort by the Toby Creek Watershed Association, DEP, BDMO (Bureau of Deep Mining Operations), and Swisher Contracting, Inc., a coal operator currently mining in the Toby Creek watershed. Funds for trout stocking were provided through the Department’s reclamation in lieu of civil penalty program. This program allows civil penalty monies owed to Commonwealth to be expended in local areas for reclamation projects rather than being paid into the reclamation fund. Swisher Contracting, Inc. Cooperated in this effort by dedicating a portion of a civil penalty assessment toward the trout stocking project. The remainder of the penalty will be utilized in the East Branch watershed for an acid mine drainage remediation project. Bill Satatose, president of the Toby Creek Watershed Association, secured the fish (200 brook, brown and rainbow trout) from the local hatcheries and arranged for their distribution in the stream. While stocking this portion of the stream is somewhat experimental, it signifies another important step in the rehabilitation of Little Toby Creek. Remediation efforts in the upper reaches of the watershed have contributed to a marked improvement in water quality in a section of the stream that in the past would not support trout. Trout were stocked for a number of years downstream from Brockway but not upstream. Since becoming fully operational in April, BAMR’s (Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation) Limestone Run Treatment Plant has given a significant boost to Little Toby’s recovery. The next major remediation effort will focus on the Brandy Camp mine discharge which is responsible for most of the iron, manganese and aluminum precipitate found in Little Toby Creek. Land was secured and BAMR began the initial design work on a treatment method for the discharge. The Toby Creek Watershed Association, DEP, Headwaters Charitable Trust, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the coal industry are working together to bring about the total recovery of Little Toby Creek.

 


3. Clarion River - East Branch Knox Office

Joe Ferrara
814-797-1191
email:
joferrara@state.pa.us

The project area is located in Jones and Sergeant Townships, in Elk and McKean Counties. On March 4, 1997, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the 1996 Annual Report for the East Branch Lake Tributaries Limestone Sand Project. The DEP is providing data to the Elk County Conservation District to expand lime sand application to Johnson Run, a tributary to the East Branch of the Clarion. Bob Hoskins, fishery biologist, noted that slight increase in pH and alkalinity had occurred as a result of the project. Knox staff Mark Benson, George Traister, Doug Stewart and Joe Ferrara have been working with the Corps of Engineers as well as the Elk County Conservation District, DCNR, Bureaus of State Parks and Forestry and local sportsmen’s groups in implementing the limestone sand project. DEP Knox Office staff have been monitoring tributaries to East Branch Lake since June 1996 and have established points specific to the project. This data is being utilized by the Corps to gauge effectiveness of the project and to make adjustments to future application rates.

Bob Dippold, project coordinator from the Elk County Conservation District, has secured permit amendments to double the application rates for 1997. The Knox Office effort, in addition to providing support to the limestone sand project, will focus on acid mine drainage pollution sources and abatement options. Corey Cram, a hydrogeologist from the Hawk Run Office, will assist the Knox Office staff in evaluating the potential for applying diversion well technology to some of the discharges. If diversion well treatment is deemed appropriate, a project could be designed and implemented by October, 1997.

Latest News:

 


4. Babb Creek Hawk Run Office

J. Corey Cram
814-342-8200
email:
jcram@state.pa.us

The majority of work on this Creek has been done by treating the waters coming from old mines. Five diversion wells were built in the watershed since the project began. Recently, a grant was received from the Environmental Defense Foundation to treat a headwater mine. Also, DEP is giving technical support to local residents installing another diversion well. Finally, a fly ash injection project on the only mine of Stony Fork Creek will clean up pollution on many miles of stream there.

On October 22, 1996, the Babb Creek Task Force met and presented progress made in the past year, described the status of current projects, and outlined future projects. The group is headed by the Environmental Defense Foundation. Also in attendance were representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Central Office BMR, the Tioga State Forest, the Arnot Sportsmen, the Slate Run Sportsmen, the Pine Creek Preservation Association, the Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Association, Antrim Mining Co., Signor Brothers Construction, the Heinz Endowment and the Penn State University Materials Research Lab. Paul Swanson from the PFBC reported that a recent stream survey found fish at every station in Babb Creek that was sampled, where only a few years ago fish were present only at the mouth of the creek.

It was reported that the combination SAPS and ALD passive treatment project is progressing well, and will be completed by the end of November. The Rattler Deep Mine Grouting Project is planned to begin during the Spring of 1997. The PFBC stated that stocking of Lick Creek and Babb Creek may be possible after macroinvertebrates establish in two years. Prior to the meeting, a tour of five diversion wells and the passive treatment project size was conducted. The following day, a tour of future projects was conducted with Mr. John Dawes of the Heinz Endowment, PEDF and DEP staff.

Latest News:

On April 22, 1997 the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund (PEDF) and DEP's Hawk Run District Mining Office celebrated Earth Day and conducted a tour of Acid Mine Drainage (AMI) remediation projects within the Tioga County's Babb Creek Watershed. The Babb Creek Watershed targeted watershed for comprehensive mine reclamation.

The tour begin with a ground breaking ceremony at the Rattler Mine Abatement Project where three mine discharges will be abated through the injection of alkaline fly ash cement into the underground mine and also through surface reclamation of unreclaimed mine lands. The staging area for the project was being constructed by the Air National Guard. Pennsylvania Adjunct General McVay, DCNR Secretary John Oliver, and DEP Deputy Secretary Robert Dolence broke ground for the project using the National Guard excavating equipment

The tour continued to the Antrim Mining Company AMD treatment facilities where the company recently developed a treatment plant that utilizes a waste lime product to treat highly acidic waters in a highly economic fashion. The Lick Creek diversion wells, the Klondike Division Well, and the Red Run Diversion Wells were next visited. These are low-cost, low-maintenance, treatment devices that utilize stream or mine water to create a bed of fluidized limestone for the treatment of streams impacted by AMD and also acid precipitation. The implementation and use of these devices has improved five miles of stream to the point that both feeder fish and trout are now present where previously the stream was sterile.

In late December 1996, a large passive treatment system was constructed in the headwaters of Babb Creek. Funding for the system was provided by the EPA 104 (b) 3 grant, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund Foundation, and by the Heinz Foundation. The treatment system consists of a vertical flow of wetland system followed by an anoxic limestone drain and further supplements the treatment provided by the five existing diversion wells. The system is located at a deep mine discharge and treats 100 to 300 gallons per minute (6.31 to 19.93 /sec). The mine water has a pH of 3.3 and the pH of the treated water is increased to 6.8.

The tour concluded with a banquet and watershed meeting at the Arnot Sportmen's Club. Participants in the tour included Senator Roger Madigan, General McVay, Secretary John Oliver, Deputy Secretary Robert Dolence, Deputy Secretary Ken Giffhorn, Rick Carlson, Antrim Mining Co., John Dawes of the Heinze Foundation, Penn State University Materials Research Lab professors, Tioga State Forestor Dave Greg and other Forestry Staff, Pa Fish Commission staff and Commissioner Inky Moore, Pa Game Commission staff, and Commissioner George Miller, three television stations, and local and regional newspaper staff.

 


5. Tangascootack Creek Hawk Run Office

J. Corey Cram
BAMR 814-342-8200
email:
jcram@state.pa.us

This project consists mainly of a combination of remining sites and passive treatment facilities. Mining under the current technological conditions will increase water quality by improving the alkaline content. The DEP Region Office, along with DCNR’s Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey, is compiling information to support and encourage remining in the throughout the area. Currently, there is no active watershed organization in the area, however, interest is building in the region to improve the quality of the Creek.

A pre-job conference was held on September 16, 1996 for the Tangascootack Creek Watershed Exploratory Drilling Project located in Bald Eagle and Beach Creek Townships, Clinton County. The major work on this project will consist of core drilling, overburden analysis and geologic mapping to encourage remining and acid mine drainage remediation. The successful completion of this project will involve an interagency effort by personnel from the Bureaus of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Deep Mine Safety, Mining and Reclamation, Topographic and Geologic Survey, and Forestry. Funding will be furnished through an EPA 104(b)(3) grant.

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6. Sulphur Creek Ebensburg Office

Ray Rodgers
814-472-6843
email:
rayrodgers@state.pa.us

The region is working closely with the watershed sponsor, Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority to address the deficiencies in Sulphur Creek. Sulphur Creek drains into the North Fork of the Conemaugh River. Proposed projects include fly-ash usage, refuse pile removal, wetland creation, wetland enhancement, anoxic drains, limestone channels, and related improvements. Currently, there are eight identified worksites which must be addressed. However, the main focus of work to date has been on a Deep Mine Bore Hole Discharge dating from the early 1900s and constitutes the major source of pollution. The bore hole has a very acidic discharge, having a pH of 3.8-3.9, 150ppm of iron, and aluminum is 25-30 ppm. To date, $45,000-$50,000 has been used for remediation and installation of a passive treatment system for a portion of the discharge.

A survey of the areas is complete and the current owners of the property have turned over rights of the land to ease clean-up. Construction recently began on a SAPS (Successive Alkaline Producing System) are being designed by regional engineers. This system is a pilot project that is being completed in preparation of constructing a major SAPS facility for treating the whole of the discharge. Also, an Maryland firm will donate a Pyrolucyte (Manganese Removal System) facility that, when combined with the SAPS, will have a significant impact on the quality of the stream. In closing, note that an EPA 104b grant of $43,500 will be utilized to help fund the program.

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7. Northern Swatara Creek Pottsville Office

Dan Koury
(570) 621-3466
email:
dkoury@state.pa.us

The Northern Swatara Creek Watershed Association held its monthly meeting on February 25, 1997 at the Newtown Fire Company. Highlights included current diversion well status. A segment of the Lorberry Creek was recently limestone sand-doused. CMRS Swatara Watershed proposed a wetland project at Lorberry Junction (I-81, exit 32) to abate Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) pollution from Lower Rausch Creek. AMD abatement projects are expanding throughout the watershed, reducing AMD substantially in some places for the first time in decades! The project is progressing, and requires cooperation from DEP, DCNR, PennDOT, Army Corps of Engineers and others. All involved parties are in favor of the project and are continuing to work together to resolve issues. Wetland design and construction will be coordinated with the Schuylkill County Conservation District, who will utilize EPA 104B3 funds to purchase materials. The wetland site will be used not only for AMD treatment, but for public education as well. The target completion date is set for September, 1997. Also, a stream clean up is scheduled for April 20, 1997.

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8. Nescopeck Creek Pottsville Office

Ignacy Nasilowski
570-621-3475
email:
inasilowsk@state.pa.us

Jeddo Tunnel discharges approximately 50,000 gpm of AMD daily into Nescopeck Creek. In light of this and other pressures, the Nescopeck is currently a stocked trout waterway and is used for various watersport activities.

The Wildland Conservancy and DEP sponsored a public meeting on April 9, 1996, to solicit local support. Field surveys were conducted during the Fall of 1996. Currently, efforts are ongoing for the negotiation, monitoring and modeling of contracts to address the discharge of groundwater from the tunnel.

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9. Monongahela River Central Office

Flooded mines have the potential to discharge poor quality water and pollution. Initial efforts are underway to predict, estimate and prevent or control discharges.

The watershed approach and related program for the Monogahela is developing to address Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) to a greater extent.

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