"Overcoming Challenges - A Bright Future"


Below are the recorded live sessions from the Whova Platform provided as conference proceedings for the 2021 AMR Conference.

“Day 1 Welcome”, Andy McAllister, WPCAMR

WPCAMR Regional Coordinator, Andy McAllister, gets the audience geared up for the first day of the conference.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “Overcoming Challenges – A Bright Future”, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, Patrick McDonnell

Secretary McDonnell will address issues related to Abandoned Mines in Pennsylvania and the daunting task of cleaning them up especially in a challenging economy.

“Pennsylvania Senate Bill 832: Clean Streams Fund”, Pennsylvania State Senator Gene Yaw

Pennsylvania State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 832 that establishes a Clean Streams Fund for the Commonwealth. The fund will be used to protect and restore Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers to stimulate economic growth in our communities and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. The goal is to establish a new fund dedicated to water quality, specifically focused on mitigating “non-point” sources of pollution, such as agricultural runoff and acid mine drainage, that are diffused throughout the landscape. Funding in the amount of $250 million dollars will be appropriated from federal dollars allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

VIRTUAL TOUR: Troubleshooting the Tanoma Passive Treatment System”, Jon Smoyer, PA DEP – Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation

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.

“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.

VIRTUAL TOUR: Bear Run Watershed Restoration”, Tom Clark, Susquehanna River Basin Commission

The restoration of Bear Run from the impacts of legacy mining pollution was the first project the Watershed Renaissance Initiative under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener Program. Nine projects were eventually completed within an eight-year timeframe combining deep mine drainage treatment using passive and semi-active technologies, mine refuse removal, and abandoned mine land reclamation projects. Through these works, much of the South Branch of Bear Run and the mainstem of Bear Run were improved enough to once again hold populations of wild brook trout. Work continues in this watershed focused on areas of diffuse surface mine seepage areas through the use of alkaline addition, revegetation, and reforestation projects. The tour will highlight some of the larger projects and discuss were we have been, where we are, and where we plan to go to continue the improvement in this headwater West Branch Susquehanna River tributary.

“Peroxide Treatment at the Gladden Discharge to Miller Run” Farley Wood, Tetra Tech

The newly constructed Gladden AMD Treatment Plant restores four miles of Millers Run and is instrumental in restoring 4.2 miles of Chartiers Creek to the confluence with Robinson Run. The facility employs active treatment technology and utilizes a chemical oxidizer, 50 percent hydrogen peroxide, to achieve treatment of the iron-laden net alkaline mine water. This facility is the first plant in Pennsylvania designed from inception to utilize this technology.

Lunch Break & Vintage Operation SCARLIFT video

Over lunch, attendees had the option to view the 1970’s era Operation SCARLIFT video.  The video is approximately 25 minutes.

Day 1 Mayfly Award Presentation

Malcolm Crittenden was the first Mayfly Awardee announced.  

“VIRTUAL TOUR: Twomile Run”, Bob Hedin & Neil Wolfe, Hedin Environmental

Twomile Run enters the lower reach of Kettle Creek just above the village of Westport in western Clinton County. Abandoned coal mines in the Twomile Run watershed once impaired most of Twomile Run but restoration efforts spearheaded by Trout Unlimited and the Kettle Creek Watershed Association have resulted in the recovery and reconnection of 6 miles of native brook trout stream. Of the nine treatment systems constructed, the Swamp passive treatment system is the largest and is also the most significant due to its severe water quality and upstream position in the watershed. Constructed in 2012 and funded largely by grants from PA DEP and OSM, the Swamp system consists of three vertical flow ponds, two settling ponds and two aerobic wetlands. Raw water entering the system averages 92 gpm with pH 2.99, acidity 437 mg/L, iron 54 mg/L, aluminum 22 mg/L. Average effluent pH is 7.6 with 169 mg/L alkalinity and both iron and aluminum concentrations are less than 1 mg/L. Despite this “high risk” water quality, the system has performed reliably for nine years with minimal maintenance.

“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. 

Federal Legislative Roundup

An update on AML-related legislation including the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill (BIF), Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) program aka Pilot Program, RECLAIM Act, and Good Samaritan liability protections

Day 2 Welcome”, Andy McAllister, WPCAMR

WPCAMR Regional Coordinator, Andy McAllister, gets the audience geared up for the second day of the conference.

AMDTreat v5.0.2 Plus Demo

AMDTreat (Pronounced: am’-D-treat or A-M-D-treat.), a member of OSMRE’s Technical Innovation and Professional Services (TIPS) suite of software, is a computer application for estimating abatement costs for pollutional mine drainage, commonly referred to as Acid Mine Drainage or AMD. (Also Acid Rock Drainage or ARD.) The current version of AMDTreat is v5.0.2 Plus. AMDTreat can assist a user in estimating costs to abate water pollution using a variety of passive and chemical treatment types; including, vertical flow ponds, anoxic limestone drains, anaerobic wetlands, aerobic wetlands, bio reactors, manganese removal beds, limestone beds, oxic limestone channels, caustic soda, hydrated lime, pebble quicklime, ammonia, oxidation chemicals, and soda ash treatment systems. The acid mine drainage abatement cost model provides over 400 user modifiable variables in modeling costs for treatment facility construction, excavation, revegetation, piping, road construction, land acquisition, system maintenance, labor, water sampling, design, surveying, pumping, sludge removal, chemical consumption, clearing and grubbing, mechanical aeration, and ditching. AMDTreat also contains several financial and scientific tools to help select and plan treatment systems. These tools include a long-term financial forecasting module, an acidity calculator, a sulfate reduction calculator, a Langelier saturation index calculator, a mass balance calculator, a passive treatment alkalinity calculator, an abiotic homogeneous Fe2+ oxidation calculator, a biotic homogeneous Fe2+ oxidation calculator, an oxidation tool, and a metric conversion tool. AMDTreat was developed cooperatively by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS), and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)

“VIRTUAL TOUR: 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.

“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.

“VIRTUAL TOUR: Broad Top Township”, Joe Mills, Skelly & Loy

This presentation is a short review of 3 passive acid mine drainage systems in Broad Top Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  The first system, SAO-D14 was constructed in the summer of 2019.  This system is in Sandy Run and treats, on average, 180 gpm of 3.0 pH water that contains a moderate amount of dissolved metals.  The treated discharge from this system has been consistently above 7.0 pH, 50 mg/l alkalinity with dissolved iron and aluminum below detection limits.  The next system, SAO-D5, constructed in 2009, has and average flow of about 70 gpm with a pH of 2.5, acidity of 150mg/l, iron about 7 mg/l and aluminum slightly higher than 12 mg/l.  The treated effluent from SAO-D5 has a pH of over 7.0, alkalinity over 50 mg/l and dissolved iron and aluminum are non-detectable.  The last treatment system that we will look at, SXO-D7, also constructed in 2009, is in the Six Mile Run watershed.  The AMD being treated by this system has a pH of 4.5, acidity of 110 mg/l, iron over 30 mg/l and aluminum 7 mg/l.  The treated effluent enters Six Mile Run with a pH of nearly 7.0, alkalinity of over 20 mg/l and dissolved metals below 0.5 mg/l.  These are three of the 43 passive acid mine drainage treatment systems constructed in the watersheds of Broad Top Township.

“Reforestation of Legacy Mine Land”, Amie Fleming, Quantified Ventures

The Quantified Ventures (QV) team will present on our partnership with Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, working on a reforestation pilot project. This pilot is testing the role that ex ante, or forecasted, carbon credits can play in helping finance reforestation, specifically on legacy mine land in Appalachia. Legacy mine lands are lands that have been restored to meet legal requirements, but generally still have heavily degraded soils and forests have a difficult time naturally regenerating. This project will review three main areas of focus:
1) Examples of Innovative Finance – Quantified Ventures has four practices areas from which we draw inspiration, from leading creative problem solving with partners to hands on experience implementing solutions. We will explore a few key projects that inform our work: A) The Environmental Impact Bond and B) the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund. In dissecting these solutions briefly, we can highlight themes of what outcomes based financing can do, and how we are bringing those experiences to bear in the mine land context.
2) Barriers and Solutions to Reforestation – Impactful reforestation programs, such as the initiatives run by PEC and Green Forests Work (a nonprofit focused on legacy mine land reforestation) seeks to fully recover the ecological degradation to post-mining landscapes. We will highlight the key barriers we’ve identified to reforesting Appalachia and the challenges with scaling existing programs. We will then discuss our approach: carbon based reforestation. 
3) Leveraging Carbon for Mine Land Reforestation – QV is piloting the sale of ex-ante, or forecasted, carbon credits through the Climate Forward program, on a 500-acre pilot project. We will discuss how the program works, the role of carbon in our program design, and how it enables us to seek private capital as part of our funding strategy. We will also discuss our approaches to date: pursuing both a pilot (~500 acres) and have applied for a large federal grant (RCPP AFA) to reforest 3,600 acres over 5 years.  

Day 2 Mayfly Award Presentation

Pete Dalby and Terry Morrow were the next Mayfly Awardees announced. 

“VIRTUAL TOUR: Deer Creek, Clearfield County”, Kelly Williams, Clearfield County Conservation District Watershed Specialist

This presentation is a review of AMD treatment in the Deer Creek Watershed, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. 

“The Countywide Action Plan- An overview of the planning process, hurdles and expected outcomes”, Joshua E. Glace PWS, CPESC, Larson Design Group & Dr. Jennifer Demchak, WATER, LLC

This presentation will look at the CAP development process, focusing in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. It will discuss stakeholder collaboration and overcoming barriers to generate a realistic plan for the counties. We will highlight the expected results over the next 4 years. Finally, we will discuss how AMD fits into the county plans and the importance it may play in the Chesapeake Bay model in the future.

Day 3 “Datashed 3.0 2021 Workshop“, Cliff Denholm, Stream Restoration Incorporated

See the Datashed 3.0 Workshop page for details.

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.