DEP grants $1.66M to help maintain abandoned PA mine drainage treatment plants

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HARRISBURG, PA, July 14, 2014 -- In an effort to maintain acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment facilities in Butler, Cambria, Clarion, and Venango counties in the state of Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has awarded a $1.66-million grant to the Clean Streams Foundation, Inc. (CSF).

This grant will allow CSF to operate and maintain nine existing water treatment plants that remove AMD from nearby waterways. This includes costs incurred for water monitoring, treatment chemicals, system flushing, sludge removal, and emergency repairs, among other things. Collectively, these nine treatment facilities treat nearly one million gallons of mine-influenced water daily.

Further, the grant will be paid to CSF over a period of five years. This is the second grant DEP has awarded to CSF for the operation and maintenance of the treatment facilities.

In 2005, DEP entered into a Consent Order and Agreement (COA) with C & K Coal Company to address post-mining issues, such as AMD. In that COA, a trust fund was created by C & K to construct and operate AMD treatment plants in impacted areas. CSF was named as the trustee and is now responsible for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the AMD treatment facilities.

Until the trust grows to cover all operation and maintenance costs for these treatment facilities, DEP has agreed to provide supplemental funding from the federal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Fund. The fund is supported by a fee on the coal industry and is distributed to states as annual grants to reclaim abandoned mine sites.

See also:

"Large U.S. rivers becoming less acidic, finds new study"

"Fracking wastewater radioactivity reduced with acid mine drainage, finds study"

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