Abandoned mine drainage, or AMD, in this case iron rich or "yellow boy" pollutes a tributary of the Chartiers

You can see the change in the water between Mayview and Carnegie. Why is Chartiers Creek so brown below Bridgeville and all of the way to the Ohio River? Where's it coming from? What's being done about it? Who's doing what? In June and November of 2005, public meetings in Carnegie updated stakeholders with the results of a four year study of AMD supported by the PA Dept of Environmental Protection. 

Principal researchers, Robert Hedin, Ph.D., ecologist, Hedin Environmental and Thomas Gray, P.E., engineer, GAI Consultants presented a program summarizing studies of the chemistry, flow and general degradation of nine major mine discharges located between Bridgeville and Carnegie. These inflows pollute the remaining 15 miles of Chartiers Creek on its 52 mile journey from Washington County. Along with its affected tributaries, about 27 miles of streams show poor chemistry and brownish iron-laden turbidity. One discharge fouls the final 4 miles of Miller Run from Gladden, while the old three mile backchannel that forms the boundary between Collier, Bridgeville and Scott municipalities is affected from Trader Jack’s to Chem Tech. Most discharges travel only tenths of a mile on minor tributaries.  Some are piped directly into Chartier Creek. 

AMD has long been documented as the major threat to water quality in the lower Chartiers watershed. Before these recent studies it was last documented 35 years ago about the time the US Army Corp of Engineers dredged and re-channelled Chartiers Creek for flood control.

Things have changed with new discharges, new chemistry and different amounts. Not only does this problem give that ugly brown-stained look, seen from the Parkway West, but it also pollutes the habitat for supporting aquatic and plant life of a healthy stream. Now there is current information about AMD that is enabling a look at the engineering possibilities for remediation. Not only is this information about the surface flows, but now subsurface mine pool maps have been compiled and can guide new technological designs. Most recently these discharges have been ranked by their damage and feasibility for both technical and economical treatment. 

As a result of this characterization and remediation study, over one million dollars in growing greener funds have been awarded to various projects to help fix the AMD problem in the Chartiers watershed.  

These funded projects, managed by local conservancies, include:

Passive system at Wingfield Pines
 managed by Allegheny Land Trust

Sealing Maud Mine at Fishing Run 
to control the Gladden discharge
managed by 
South Fayette Conservation Group

characterization of the discharges into Robinson Run
managed by the Wanashee Conservancy. 


Where are the worst AMD discharges?