Governor Wolf Approves Funding for Abandoned Mine Cleanup Projects in Western Pennsylvania

December 15, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that cleanup of acid mine drainage (AMD) and contaminated land at three sites in Western Pennsylvania communities will advance with funding through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“It takes committed, hard work by many local partners to clean up the environmental degradation left by decades of coal mining before federal and state regulations began in the 1970s,” said Governor Wolf. “Their efforts are invaluable investments in our public health, the vitality of our communities, and the quality of our environment in Pennsylvania.”

The grants are supported by the state Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Fund, established to finance reclamation projects on lands scarred by surface mining, and through the AMD abatement and treatment program to support remediation of AMD in a Qualified Hydrologic Unit—a watershed, river basin, or other unit where AMD has significantly affected water quality in a way that adversely affects biological resources.

“DEP is pleased to approve funding to support these partnerships in abandoned mine cleanup efforts,” said Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Their work goes a long way to restore and protect the land and water for their communities and the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

The newly funded projects are as follows:

Fayette County: AMD Cleanup at Spruell Mine Site

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will design and build a passive AMD treatment system at the abandoned Spruell Mine site. The system will remove 5 pounds of iron and 2 pounds of manganese daily from Glade Run to improve stream health. The project was awarded a $414,650 SMCRA Grant.

Somerset County: Hawk View Revegetation

The Somerset County Conservation District will repair three acres of land, known as Hawk View, at an abandoned mine site now owned by Somerset County Conservancy and designated a Qualified Hydrologic Unit. Vegetation was killed by acidic material exposed by erosion. The project, which received a $41,008 AMD Set-Aside Grant, consists of laying down a thin layer of crushed limestone and top soil and replanting with native vegetation.

Jefferson and Clarion Counties: Mill Creek Watershed Designation as Qualified Hydrologic Unit

The Headwaters Charitable Trust will develop the Mill Creek Watershed as a Qualified Hydrologic Unit in a project awarded a $27,850 AMD Set-Aside Grant. This designation will enable the Mill Creek Coalition to leverage additional funding from the AMD Set-Aside Fund to allow continued operation of 14 passive treatment systems in the watershed and develop additional treatment systems to maintain recovered sections of the main stem of Mill Creek and Little Mill Creek.

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