MINING AND RECLAMATION ADVISORY BOARD
July 1, 1999 Tour Site Descriptions
Best Management Practice (BMP) Permit Amerikohl Minings Rathmel Site (Stop 1)
In the early 80s, the Department approached EPA with concerns about protecting operators from responsibility for pre-existing water problems during remining. Before the concept was sanctioned, we executed Consent Order and Agreements to protect the operators from liability. That procedure was replaced with the approval of SubChapter F and G. The Department recognizes that we need to go beyond SubChapter F and G to encourage re-mining. We have EPAs approval to try BMP Permits on eight sites. The Rathmel site is one of the eight and is located on Soldier Run. With BMP permits, we use a stream-based analysis rather than monitoring each individual discharge. If the stream becomes degraded, the company must correct the problem. If we can show that the BMP approach is successful, well have EPAs support to revise the current laws and regulations. Implementation of BMP Permits should significantly increase the remining and reclamation of abandoned mine lands.
Government Financed Construction Contract (GFCC) - Soldier Mine - Alvin Gearhart/ACV Power Site (Stop 2)
Deep mining on this site (also on Soldier Run) commenced by Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company before the turn of the century. At that time, it was the largest mine in the world. They mined the Lower Freeport coal seam which was eight feet thick. The contractor proposes to remove the existing gob pile consisting of 700,000 to 800,000 tons of coal refuse. The site will be divided into two separate contracts. One additional cut for mining will be allowed to eliminate the subsidence problems in the contract area and help in remediation of the site. Coal ash will be used to neutralize some of the unusable refuse. The first contract will cover about 16 acres.
Hanley Brick Conifer Project (Stop 3)
The third stop is the 4A Project Area which includes a treatment plant. The water is being treated before it enters the unnamed tributary to Redbank Creek. The tributary is dead; its so bad that no amount of treatment makes a difference. The data shows that there is no noticeable effect on Redbank Creek with or without treatment. When treatment wont have a noticeable impact on the receiving streams, rather than wasting money, we should consider pollution trading.
Hanley Brick Beaver Run Project (Stop 4)
The fourth stop will be the Beaver Run project. Some of the money from the Hanley settlement was used on Beaver Run where it could do some good. The passive treatment is having a positive impact on the stream with a section of the stream improved. The passive treatment system includes an anoxic limestone drain and the wetland itself. Good water is mixed in to help treat the high aluminum water.)
Stop 5 To Be Determined
HANLEY BRICK CONIFER PROJECT BACKGROUND
This site was permitted by Hanley Brick Inc. to operate a clay mine. At the time the permit was issued, the company was not required to post bond. Hanley Brick recognized that its finances were finite and wanted to do the right thing by the residents of Summerville and nearby communities by providing for long-term treatment and lasting benefits to the Redbank Creek watershed. Hanley Brick Inc. and the Department have implemented the Consent Adjudication approved by Commonwealth Court in July, 1997. The adjudication provides for the long-term treatment of the Hanley Brick clay mine, remediation of acid mine drainage problems in the Beaver Run watershed, and the creation of a trust to fund future remediation projects to improve water quality in the Redbank Creek watershed. The agreement provided for acid mine drainage abatement on Beaver Run, a major tributary to Redbank Creek. A remediation plan was developed for Beaver Run to passively treat acid, high metals discharges from turn-of-the-century deep mines. The Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation developed a project to reclaim a 30-acre abandoned mine site adjacent to the remediation area. BAMR utilized resources from the 10% Set-Aside program which will allow for a coordinated, comprehensive approach to AMD remediation on this site. This combined effort intends to reduce the pollution load in a high quality, native trout stream; reduce the pollution load in the middle portion of Beaver Run by 80%; and restore three miles of stream to a productive trout fishery.
The BAMR portion of the project leveled approximately 12,000 cubic yards of mine refuse, spread approximately 22,000 cubic yards of topsoil over a 20+ acre abandoned mine site adjacent to the project area. Seeding and mulching the entire area will follow. Original Fuels, Inc. via their Grange Lime and Stone unit, provided over 1500 tons of lime sand, at no cost to the Commonwealth, to help neutralize the highly acidic mine refuse. Trees will be planted in the future in conjunction with the Trust, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Jefferson County Conservation District and the Jefferson County Sportsmen.
The Beaver Run project is an excellent example of merging resources in a cooperative environment to accomplish stream restoration and land reclamation. John Woodall, the property owner, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Hanley Brick, Inc., Redbank Creek Watershed Trust, Hedin Environmental, U.S. Filter, Original Fuels, Inc., the contractors and the Knox District Office have partnered efforts to produce tremendous results to date. Staff from the Knox office have coordinated all project activities and will continue to work closely with the Trust in the capacity set forth in the Adjudication.