Tioga River Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Plant Project
Since the 1970’s, the Tioga River has looked a little strange – orange rocks protrude from the waters surface. This phenomenon is due to acid mine drainage pollution. Abandoned mine discharges are a leading source of stream impairment in Pennsylvania with more than 5,500 miles of waterways affected statewide.
Coal mining, a major industry in the Upper Tioga River Watershed in Morris Run PA, was removed from the area from 1792 to the late 1980’s. When groundwater flows through the mines the water and air cause a chemical reaction forming sulfuric acid, making the water to have low PH, high acidity and cause other metals to dissolve into the water such as aluminum. In other words, a river that is dead – unable to support fish and plants.
In May of this year the Susquehanna River Basin Commission has awarded a $1.5 million contract to Kleinfelder Inc. for the design of a mine discharge treatment plant that will improve the quality of the Tioga River from Blossburg to Mansfield.
The treatment plant will actively treat five mine discharges, the largest being Coal Creek located just north of Blossburg.
This treatment plant will not only restore the river that flows through the middle of Blossburg to sustain fish and plants but, will also improve the quality of water in the Tioga-Hammond Lakes Recreation Area and beyond.
On Tuesday September 13th Tom Clark of the Susquehanna River Basin and Sami Pretzel of Kleinfelder Company gave a brief overview of the project plan and timeline.
Surveying and design work has started and bids for the project will be announced late 2023 with construction to take place in 2024.
An active treatment plant that will treat 15 million gallons per day of acid mine drainage water will be built in Morris Run.
Detailed information about the location of each acid mine drainage location, information about the current Fall Brook passive water treatment system at this “storymaps” link: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/51e8a9b3b8f14accaeb7bcb10252e622
For more information visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website https://www.srbc.net and the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy https://npcweb.org/
The Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee website https://tcccc-inc.org/ has kept the Tioga River acid mine drainage project alive since 1984. Please give them your support.
Information provided by the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee and the Kleinfelder Company.
Writing: Tonya McNamara
Photography: Susquehanna River Basin Commission
Produced by Vogt Media
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