"Overcoming Challenges - A Bright Future"


We are gathering an excellent list of presentations. Here are several we have approved in no particular order. Please stay tuned for more…

“Air Quality Benefits of Mine Land Reclamation Performed by the Coal Refuse Reclamation to Energy Industry”, Jaret Gibbons, ARIPPA

While data exists on water quality improvements provided by coal refuse reclamation to energy plants, as well as coal refuse piles and fires, there is no current information regarding air emissions. For this reason, ARIPPA recently hired consulting firm TRC to develop a study comparing emissions of air pollutants from necessary remediation of existing coal refuse piles to the air pollutants that would otherwise be emitted if there were no operating facilities to remediate them.

The air emissions study will aid ARIPPA in its federal advocacy efforts and help educate the public on the air quality benefits of mine land reclamation performed by the coal refuse reclamation to energy facilities. A final report is expected by September 2021. This presentation will provide an overview of the coal refuse reclamation to energy industry and highlight the results of the air emissions study.

“Overview of OSMRE’s Pittsburgh Field Office”, Eric Cavazza, P.E., OSMRE Pittsburgh Field Office Director

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is a bureau within the United States Department of the Interior. OSM is responsible for establishing a nationwide program to protect society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations, under which OSM is charged with balancing the nation’s need for continued domestic coal production with protection of the environment.  OSM was created in 1977 when Congress enacted the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). OSM works with states and tribes to ensure that citizens and the environment are protected during coal mining and that the land is restored to beneficial use when mining is finished. OSM and its partners are also responsible for reclaiming and restoring lands and water degraded by mining operations before 1977.  OSM is organized with Headquarters located in Washington DC, and three regional offices – the Appalachian, Mid-Continent, and Western Regional Offices. The Regional Offices are composed of Area and Field Offices including the Pittsburgh Field Office (PFO).  The OSM PFO is located with the Appalachian Region and oversees the coal mining regulatory (SMCRA Title V) and the Abandoned Mine Land or AML (SMCRA Title IV) programs in the states of Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This presentation will provide an overview of the Pittsburgh Field Office including its organization, responsibilities, and functions.

“Troubleshooting the Tanoma Passive Treatment System”, Jon Smoyer, PA DEP BAMR

This presentation provides a case study overview of the Tanoma Passive Treatment system in the context of trying to determine the true iron oxidation rate and retention time of the system.  The Tanoma passive treatment system was constructed in 2000 to treat the Tanoma borehole which is situated directly on the stream bank of Crooked Creek.  The Tanoma discharge is large volume alkaline-iron mine drainage with flows often exceeding 2500 gpm and single-digit iron concentrations (7 to 9 mg/L ferrous iron).  The passive treatment system encompasses 10.4 acres, of which, approximately 6.7 acres are actual pond and wetland surface area.  Despite the large size, utilizing all the space available, and the seemingly benign chemistry the treatment system has always discharged enough iron (1.5 to 2.0 mg/L ferrous iron and 3 to 5 mg/L total iron) to continue to deposit large volumes of iron on the bottom of Crooked Creek below the treatment system outfall.  The treatment system is not large enough to oxidize and settle the iron. Iron oxidation kinetics and the subtleties of large volume, alkaline-iron treatment are presented to explain the level of treatment of the system. 

“Datashed 3.0 2021 Update1“, Cliff Denholm, Stream Restoration Incorporated

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is one of the largest sources of pollution in Pennsylvania with over 5,500 miles of streams currently impaired.  Across Pennsylvania, watershed groups, government agencies, and other organizations are working to restore these streams by completing land reclamation projects and constructing water treatment systems.  Once these projects are constructed, they need to be monitored to make sure they continue to work properly and identify when maintenance is needed to ensure long-term sustained improvements of water quality. 

To help support these efforts, Stream Restoration Incorporated created Datashed (www.datashed.org), a free, open-source, web-based, GIS-enabled database that functions as a maintenance and data management tool.  The website can store a variety of information related to both individual projects and overall watershed restoration efforts including water quality data, documents, maps, engineering design drawings, treatment technologies, photographs, etc.  Datashed provides an open centralized repository to preserve this important information so that anyone with internet access can view, print, or download.  User accounts are only needed for approved users who will be adding or editing the stored information.  The website provides students, researchers, citizen scientists, and engineers with real data from existing treatment systems to conduct research and improve designs.  Datashed can also be utilized for education/outreach efforts of watershed groups to highlight their projects and provides a certain level of transparency as funding agencies are able to observe the effectiveness of the projects.   The presentation will provide an update on the status of the newest version of Datashed 3.0, planned future improvements, and availability of upcoming training events.

“Oneida #3 Treatment System”, Ed Wytovich, EPCAMR; Wayne Lehman, Schuylkill Conservation District

The Oneida #3 Tunnel discharge is located roughly two miles northwest of the town of Oneida in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The mine drainage tunnel was driven 7,000 feet north of the actual mine to drain the South Green Mountain coal basin mine water to the Tomhicken Creek. The Oneida #3 is the second-largest discharge to the Catawissa Creek with an average flow of 4,000 GPM, a pH of 4.6 SU, net acidity of 15 PPM, total aluminum of 2 PPM, total iron of 0.2 PPM, and total manganese of 0.5 PPM. The passive system has been online increasing alkalinity and dropping out aluminum since 2008.  It is similar to the nearby Audenreid Treatment System but only needed 2 limestone-filled tanks. Due to limited Growing Greener grant funding and increased construction costs, only 1 tank was installed, but the system was built to be expanded when more funding is available.

“A New Approach to Mitigation Banking”, Eric McLeary, Stantec

The use of a mitigation bank for ecosystem restoration is being developed as a pilot demonstration project in Western Pennsylvania to restore streams impacted by mine drainage and acid precipitation. Mine drainage and acid precipitation are problematic throughout Appalachia. In Pennsylvania alone, over 5,000 miles of streams have been impacted by these types of pollution. Mine/acid drainage affects ecosystem health typically by having a reduced pH with elevated acidity and metal levels (principally iron and aluminum). The task of restoring streams affected by mine/acid drainage is daunting, especially with reduced state and federal funding sources. The idea of employing mitigation banks, sponsored by private entities (i.e. industry, developers, etc.), to ecologically offset these types of pollution, as “out of kind” mitigation, has yet to be done through the federal mitigation banking program developed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Lyons Run, in Westmoreland County, PA, along with various other streams in the northcentral portion of Pennsylvania, are the pilot sites for this unique approach to mitigation banking. Installation of strategically placed and relatively low-cost passive limestone treatment units, designed to increase alkalinity and remove metals (where applicable), is the core of this restoration effort. Water quality trading, based on both measurable water quality improvement and carbon increases, provide ecological lift that can be objectively measured and traded to offset various environmental impacts. This approach is receiving favorable support from the State of Pennsylvania, federal agencies, and private parties. The use of private funding to establish mitigation banks (as ecosystem banks) to offset unavoidable ecological impacts, accomplished through existing state and federal permitting programs, is attractive to all parties involved. These programs can produce significant environmental benefits, notably wild brook trout recovery. This presentation introduces the concept, explores the development of the pilot project, covers the concerns of the state and federal agencies, presents the current status of the project (anticipated implementation being summer of 2022), and examines how it could be utilized throughout North America as an ecosystem restoration tool.

“A Case Study to Applying AML Realty for The Lancashire No. 15 Active AMD Treatment Plant”, Patrick Webb, PA DEP

The modern Lancashire No. 15 Active Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Treatment Plant was designed and constructed near a total cost of almost $14 Million Dollars from 2006 through 2012.  The total cost to purchase over 33 acres of surface property and to secure linear and square area perpetual easement agreements was just roughly $96,000.  The $96,000 total cost of property was less the 1% of the total cost of almost $14 Million Dollars to design and construct the modern active treatment plant.  Pat’s presentation will provide an overview of the following realty topics of; Trust Agreements, Tax Cards, Professional Licensed Surveys, Surface and Mineral Property Deeds, Mineral Property Abstract Report, Land Appraisal Reports, Standard Agreements for the Sale of Vacant Land, Purchase of Property, Perpetual Easement Agreements, Title Insurance, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Projection (PA-DEP) Consent for Right of Entries (CROE) that are otherwise known as temporary construction agreements.  Technical AMD information of the Lancashire No. 15 AMD Treatment Plant is that it continuously pumps, treats, and discharges between 4,000 to 5,000 gallons per minute (GPM) of treated AMD. The treatment plant is designed to operate up to a maximum 7,000 GPM discharge rate. 

Request for Presentations

The conference planning committee is now requesting proposals for presentations. We encourage a wide range of topic submissions, including but not limited to:
• New abandoned mine drainage (AMD) treatment system technologies, tools, and products
• Construction case studies and lessons learned
• Land remediation, reforestation, and reuse
• Water quality monitoring
• Operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation of treatment systems
• Non-profit organization capacity issues
• Community involvement, special events, education, and outreach
• Coal mining history and heritage preservation
• Mapping, drones, equipment, and other helpful new technologies
• Legislative updates and concerns at all levels of government
• Economic redevelopment, health and safety, and quality of life topics
• Climate change, energy, and AMD

In the past, we have had such varied topics as the history of baseball in coal patch towns, prevention of Lyme disease, preserving collieries, computer software designed technologies, reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund, economic benefits of reclamation, abandoned mine land issues in Germany and Bolivia, the establishment and support of non-profit organizations, and everything in between. If your topic can be related to what our community does, we would love to consider it for our 23rd annual conference!

If you are interested in making a presentation, please submit an abstract for review. Submissions should be no longer than one page in length and include the presenter’s name, title, and organization. Please also include a 1-paragraph bio for the presenter. Submissions and questions should be emailed to Anne Daymut at anne@wpcamr.org by July 16, 2021.