Pennsylvania Allocates $5.7 Million to Restore Abandoned Mine Lands and Waterways

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HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recenlty announced $5,672,751 in funding for eight projects aimed at restoring abandoned mine lands (AML) and addressing acid mine drainage (AMD). These projects are part of the broader Abandoned Mine Lands and Acid Mine Drainage Grant Program.

This announcement is part of a larger $244.7 million initiative unveiled by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, and DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. The funds come from the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA) and are designated for various reclamation efforts across Pennsylvania.

The DEP will receive $244 million this year to tackle the extensive challenges posed by abandoned mine lands. The projects will focus on removing hazardous waste piles, re-grading dangerous highwalls, treating polluted streams and rivers, and managing mine subsidence beneath homes and businesses.

Grant recipients will be reimbursed for project costs. The selected projects span several counties and will address both land and water restoration:

Allegheny County

  • Allegheny Land Trust — $2,707,361
    • Chalfant Run (PTS Construction): This project entails constructing and managing a passive AMD treatment system to restore Chalfant Run.

Bedford County

  • Broad Top Township — $11,000
    • Defiance West (SXO-D17): Efforts will include reviewing historic mine maps to locate mine openings and associated entries, identifying where significant AMD flow bypasses the current treatment system, conducting three months of sampling, and developing treatment options.
  • Broad Top Township — $40,390
    • Langdondale (LRO-D13/15 PTS Rehab): The project involves three months of water sampling to guide design options, completing a National Resource Conservation Service Chapter 105 permit, and preparing a grading plan.

Butler County

  • Stream Restoration Incorporated — $251,797
    • De Sale West (Phase I & II Rehab): The project includes water monitoring, design, and permitting necessary for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the aging De Sale Phase I and II passive treatment systems.

Elk County

  • Elk County Conservation District — $224,007
    • Dark Hollow: Monitoring of the BBWA3888 AMD treatment system will determine functionality, modify the current collection system, and involve hiring a consultant to redesign the system based on data. Construction plans and permits will be obtained as needed.
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — $1,931,602
    • West Creek: This project includes constructing two AMD passive treatment systems and neutralizing three coal refuse piles near the headwaters of West Creek in Saint Mary’s.

Northumberland County

  • Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance — $367,361
    • Big Mountain Road West: This project will complete the engineering design and permitting required to remediate a large coal refuse pile south of the city of Shamokin.

Westmoreland County

  • Export Borough Historical Society, Inc. — $139,233
    • Export: This project involves design engineering and permitting needed to close a mine opening and mitigate a subsidence-prone area in Export.

These projects will not only help to clean up and reclaim degraded lands but also protect Pennsylvania communities from the dangers posed by abandoned mines. By addressing these environmental hazards, the state aims to improve public safety, enhance local ecosystems, and support community development.

The implications of these projects extend beyond immediate environmental benefits. They also contribute to the long-term health and sustainability of Pennsylvania’s natural resources. By reclaiming abandoned mine lands and treating acid mine drainage, the state can restore vital waterways and landscapes, making them safer and more accessible for residents and wildlife alike.

As these projects move forward, they represent a significant step toward addressing the legacy of Pennsylvania’s mining past and paving the way for a healthier, more sustainable future.

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