A “Pre Conference” tour for Thursday August 2nd, 2012 to Eastern Clearfield County is being provided by the AMR Conference Planning committee and the gracious staff at the PA DEP Moshannon District Mining Office for an additional fee of $10 (to cover the bus and lunch). The tour bus will leave promptly at 11AM. Space is limited and the tour bus is full.General Notes: This will be approximately a 4 hour tour at a nice leisurely pace in the field, with PA DEP Moshannon DMO staff narration and involves about a 10 minute hike up a haul road to one site. Please be prepared. Sturdy walking shoes are suggested (no flipflops) and wear comfortable clothes that might get dirty (not your Sunday best). We will be visiting an active mine site as well and will provide hard hats for the active mine site stop, or if you have your own, please feel free to bring it along. In order to make it on dirt roads a school bus is being contracted, but it will not have a bathroom on board. The active mine site has a port-o-john. A late lunch will be provided (you may want to grab a snack before) and an environmental education demonstration at the Millstone Creek Canoe “Put In” near Shawville (between stop 2 & 4).
Tentative Tour Itinerary
Stop 1: Manor Lime Silo (West Branch of the Susquehanna)
The DMO manages this site now with an Aqua Fix distributing pebble quick lime from a silo into the 90 to 600 gpm, low pH, metals laden discharge. We saw this site a few years ago on another AMR Conference tour, but in November 2011 they recently added some new innovative technologies including a trompe (compressed air generating technology), an airlift mixer and a diversion well to help dissolve the lime more efficiently and dropout metals more readily. The resulting water quality was pH 7.41 at 156 gpm and 17 degrees celsius. One trompe was working and the second kicks in after the discharge reaches 200 gpm (scaleable based on through put). They pump sludge and refill the lime silo (24 tons) about every 10 weeks.
Stop 2: AM Fire Active Mine Reclamation with Alkaline Addidtion (Little Deer Creek)
Mine foremen will be there to give a site overview and hazard training required by MSHA (takes 5 mins). The mining company is re-mining pre-act Kittanning and some B Vein pits. The company removed water filled pits that had been steeping in the overburden for 40 years and water quality was extremely bad. The mine inspector described it as “your typical purple mix” of Iron, Manganese and other metals that these veins produce. The water would seep to the stream and in heavy rain events could spill over. The mining company began re-mining the pits, taking the leftover coal and reclaiming by adding alkaline materials directly to the pit floor and mixed into the back-fill. The site is in process and really visually interesting. You may find a fossil or two!
Stop 3: Canoe “Put In” near Shawville (Millstone Creek)The tour will pass near the Shawville Power Plant and stop at a Canoe Put In near the mouth of Millstone Creek for a late lunch (provided by the conference) and an environmental education presentation by Rebecca Holler, Education Coordinator, Trout Unlimited Eastern Abandoned Mine Program. These activities, which are part of the a larger curriculum developed by Trout Unlimited, provide “hands on” education about AMD, its treatment and many aspects of stream ecology. Some of the activities include, water quality testing, macroinvertebrate studies, AMD treatment in a bottle, and many more fun activities. The lesson will also include how to change the presentation of materials based on the age group of your audience (handouts of their education curriculum will be available).
Stop 4: Pierce Passive Treatment System (Roaring Run)
The passive treatment system is a modified BLR (Baffled Limestone Ramp) designed by the NRCS. The discharge comes in from a seep and a deep mine at a 2.9 pH loaded with metals and should not be able to be treated passively. Originally an ALD was installed here and chronically clogged up. This “wedge shaped” system was designed to clog and be rinsed out. Water enters the first of 4 cells and metals drop out until it clogs to raise the water level to the next tier (cell). Each cell clogs progressively. When the last cell is plugged (takes about a year) the DEP would wash the limestone into a pond below with the help of an excavator. Bottom drains were added in November 2011 to completely drain between each baffle and flush out metals into a settling pond below to extend the time when they will have to completely wash the system. They plan to flush the system just for the tour group. It’s neat to see! They also use a para-scoping riser pipe to adjust the water levels.