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Department of Environmental Protection: DEP awards more than $2.25 million in mine reclamation contracts.

Text of May 9 press release.

Harrisburg – The Department of Environmental Protection announced today it has awarded $2,252,855 for remediation projects at abandoned mine sites in Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Jefferson and Luzerne counties.

The remediation will reclaim 181 acres to pre-mining conditions by planting tens of thousands of trees, re-grading thousands of cubic yards of steep slopes left by mining, stabilizing old mine pits and shafts, and preventing more than 75,000 gallons a day of acid mine drainage from reaching waterways.

“Coal mining fueled the nation’s economy for many years, but it left Pennsylvania a legacy of sites in need of remediation,” DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko said. “Our aggressive program is reclaiming these sites from scarred earth to the condition that they once were.”

The remediation work will take place over the next year and a half at abandonedmining sites across the state.

The contracts were awarded on a competitive basis and are being paid for out of a grant from the federal Office of Surface Mining. The federal fund is supported by a tax on the modern coal industry and is distributed to states as annualgrants to reclaim mine sites that were abandoned prior to passage of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us or call 717-783-2267.

Editor’s Note: Following are descriptions of the projects:

Parker Township, Butler County Morgan’s Excavating of Mount Union, Huntingdon County, has been awarded $289,301 to reclaim 33.5 acres near abandoned mines outside of the community of Bruin. The site’s dangerous pits and steep highwalls will be filled in and unstable heaps of dirt, rocks and vegetation that piled up from mining will be graded and stabilized. A subsurface drain will control water runoff from the site, and grass and other vegetation will be planted. Work is expected to be completed by October 2012.

White Township, Cambria County Morgan’s Excavating of Mount Union, Huntingdon County, has been awarded $261,587 to restore 21 acres at a strip mining pit adjacent to state game lands and Prince Gallitzin State Park. The site was abandoned prior to 1960, and the work will return the site to its original contour. Dangerously steep highwalls left from mining, ranging in height from 20 to 40 feet, will be filled in with approximately 153,000 cubic yards of soil. A collapsed mine shaft that drops 15 feet from the surface will be filled in; a subsurface drain will be installed with a limestone channel to neutralize the acidity of any water that flows through the site; and more than 15,000 trees will be planted. Work is expected to be completed by mid-September 2012.

Farmington Township, Clarion County The Gralan Corporation of West Fort Ann, New York, has been awarded $321,626 to reclaim an abandoned mining site outside of the community of Tylersburg. The Crown mine, abandoned in 1960, contains numerous pits, precipitous highwalls and unstable piles of coal-mining waste in need of reclamation. More than 5,000 trees will be planted across 22.5 acres at thesite after 12 acres of pits and highwalls are graded and stabilized. In addition, more than 1,800 tons of alkaline will be packed into the ground to neutralize the acidity of any water that becomes contaminated from flowing through the site. Work is expected to be completed by February 2013.

Union Township, Jefferson County The Headwaters Charitable Trust and Mill Creek Coalition of Jefferson County have been awarded $350,000 to install an acid mine drainage treatment system at the former Orcutt and Smail mine sites. The bonds for the site were forfeited by the operator in 1991 after mining was complete, but discharge continued to go untreated. The treatment system that will be installed will prevent the 75,000 gallons of acid mine drainage that currently flow out of the site from reaching waterways untreated. The system will mix limestone slurry into collected pools of the acidic water to neutralize its acidity. Further treatment will aerate the water to remove the other contaminants, helping to restore the health of nearby Little Mill Creek, which eventually flows into the Clarion River. Work is expected to be completed by December 2013.

Plymouth Township, Luzerne County C.E. Ankiewicz Construction and Excavation Inc. of Mountain Top, Luzerne County, have been awarded $1,030,341 to reclaim the Avondale strip mine pit. Abandoned in 1959, the site will see 98,800 cubic yards of rock and soil re-graded; 14,390 cubic yards of soil excavated to control drainage at the site; 10,090 square yards of rock lining put down to stabilize the site; and 92 acres of vegetation and trees seeded on the site for reclamation and beautification. The grant was awarded because of inaction by the former contractor, who had been tasked with reclaiming the site. Work is expected to be completed by early February 2013.

May 11 2012 08:17 am | News

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