Reclamation Projects Under Construction
Slippery Rock Watershed!!!
By Cliff Denholm
Stream Restoration Inc.
|August 15, 2001
Slippery Rock, PA
- Up in northern Butler County, in Western Pennsylvania, coal mining
has been conducted for over 100 years. Mining communities, which
were once hustling bustling communities have now since been abandoned or
at least in decline and all that typically remains are coal refuse, spoil
piles, and streams heavily polluted from mine drainage. One such
area, the 410 square mile Slippery Rock Creek Watershed, was documented
by the Commonwealth’s Operation Scarlift to be one of the most seriously
degraded watersheds within the state of Pennsylvania. The most heavily
impacted area of the watershed lies in the 27-square mile headwaters where
about 4,000 acres are underlain by underground mine workings and 8,000
acres included in surface mine permits. Many of the residents refer
to Slippery Rock Creek as “Sulfur Creek” referring to acidic metal bearing
mine drainage that has so severely impacted the creek.
However, in 1994,
the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition was formed through a volunteer effort
by citizens, private industry, schools, government agencies, service groups,
and others who live and/or worked in the area to restore the watershed
through public-private partnership efforts and using passive treatment
systems which are environmentally-friendly, low cost, low maintenance,
and sustainable. Since 1994, they have installed 12 passive treatment
systems, successfully treating over 500 million gallons of mine drainage per year
from 16 discharges, removing about 150 tons of iron, 8 tons of aluminum,
and 182 tons of acidity annually from Slippery Rock Creek. That is
enough iron and aluminum to make approximately 150 trucks and 273,000 aluminum
cans each year!!!!!! In addition about 100 acres have been reclaimed
to productive farms or wildlife habitat and over 10 acres of wetlands have
been constructed. The water quality is improving and fish have been
observed in the watershed where they have not been seen in over a 100 years.
The Coalition currently
has six projects under construction or development, most of which will
be completed by this years end. These include De Sale Phase II, Goff
Station, North Liberty, SR81, SR89, and SR96.
|De Sale Phase II Restoration
||200 gpm designed flow passive
treatment system consisting of stream intake, Forebay, 2 Vertical Flow
Ponds in parallel, Settling Pond, 1.5 acre Wetland, and Horizontal Flow
Limestone Bed treating a low ph, highly acidic Fe-Mn-Al laden discharge.
|Goff Station Restoration
||Passive Treatment System
abating 5 discharges with an average total flow of 385 gpm consisting of
4 Vertical Flow Ponds, Flush Ponds, Settling Ponds, and 4 acres of naturally-function
aerobic wetlands removing 12,600 lbs/year of metals. In addition
78,000 CY of abandoned coal refuse removed and neutralized with circulating,
fluidized-bed coal ash. Also includes creation of a unique bat hibernaculum,
the first of its kind known east of the Mississippi.
||Project consists of reclaiming
over 40 acres (30 acres of spoil piles) of abandoned minelands back to
productive farmland through liming pit areas and regarding land back to
pre-mining conditions including steep and dangerous 50 ft. highwalls located
within 250 ft of a historic farmhouse. The project also includes
pumping and treating 10,000,000 gallons of highly pollutive water lying
within 15 acres of open pits.
||System is currently under
design, but will consist of an Anoxic Limestone Drain, Settling Pond and
Wetland. It will also include 2,000 CY gob pile removal and reclamation
of an abandoned surface mine utilizing fabricated soils.
||This system will be built
on Game Lands 95 to treat an abandoned mine discharge directly entering
Slippery Rock Creek. The system is currently under design, and will
consist of a Vertical Flow Pond and Wetland system. Due to the close
proximty of the discharge to the stream and the lack of adequate drop,
a unique collection system and Vertical Flow Pond will be installed.
||System is currently under
design. It will consist of an Anoxic Limestone Drain and other facilities.
For more information
about the Coalition and its projects check out the Slippery Rock Watershed
Coalition’s web site at www.srwc.org
or by clicking on the above links to the respective project.
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