can we clean up this mine drainage?
key lies in investigating the scope of the problem. An initial two
year DEP Growing Greener study of nine major AMD discharges to the
main channel of Chartiers Creek between Bridgeville and Carnegie
was concluded in July 2003. Aimed at monitoring the flow and
chemistry of each surface discharge and gathering and digitizing
maps of the deep underlying mines in order to develop a GIS
map-based hydrologic model, the study served to update our
understanding of this leading threat to water quality in the lower
Chartiers watershed, since it was last studied by the 1970
Operation Scarlift survey.
that thirty-year span much had changed. New discharges appeared,
others disappeared, discharges changed in chemistry and flow, and
information about the mines grew. With the completion of the Lower
Chartiers Creek Rivers Conservation Plan in March 2001, this study
was considered the first implementation of any of its
recommendations. It serves as the first step, an understanding of
the discharges and their causes, which now advantages us toward
remediating AMD impact.
What is being
done to clean up mine drainage and restore our streams?
two-year DEP Growing Greener restoration project took the next
logical step toward remediation by using this characterization
data to develop and prioritize engineering design options.
reviewing hydro-geological setting with historical mine drainage
studies, the most recent discharge data was summarized and loading
for the discharges calculated, to assess their impact on water
quality on the main channel.
property owners of potential remediation sites, biological
condition of the main channel, public opinion of the project and
the potential for industrial and commercial use of treated mine
water were also identified.
prioritization matrix was created to evaluate cost-effectiveness
of remediation projects. Remediation options for each
discharge were developed, along with a detailed conceptual design
for the preferred alternative.
project's final report was issued in March 2006. Where do we
go from here?
a direct result of this study, more than one million dollars in
growing greener grants have been awarded to local watershed groups
to design treatment systems for three of the most egregious
Fayette Conservation Group is managing the Fishing Run project,
which will remediate the Gladden discharge. Allegheny Land
Trust is constructing a passive treatment system at Wingfield
Pines and Stream Restoration, Inc. is remediating another AMD
discharge. These projects are in the permitting and early
addition, Wanashee Conservancy has been awarded a growing greener
grant to characterize the Robinson Run watershed, a large
sub-watershed of Chartiers Creek.
with other conservation activities in the watershed, these
projects will draw more attention to building new respect and
value for restoring Chartiers Creek. The creek provides
aquatic habitat, recreational opportunities such as canoeing,
fishing, and wading, and is the source of water and sink for
discharges for industries. It is the central component of
trails and parks in the riparian corridor.