Pennsylvania is allocating $5.7 million to restore abandoned mining areas and waterways

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced $5,672,751 in funding for eight projects aimed at Abandoned Mine Lands Restoration (AML) and Acid Mine Drainage Remediation (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. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis and Acting DEP Secretary Jessica Shirley. The funds come from the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA) and are intended for various recovery efforts across Pennsylvania.

The DEP will receive $244 million this year to address the extensive challenges posed by abandoned mining areas. Projects focus on removing hazardous waste piles, rehabilitating dangerous high walls, treating polluted streams and rivers, and addressing mine subsidence beneath homes and businesses.

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

Allegheny County

  • Allegheny Land Trust – $2,707,361
    • Chalfant Run (PTS construction): This project involves building and managing a passive AMD treatment system to restore Chalfant Run.

Bedford County

  • Broad Top Township – $11,000
    • Defiance West (SXO-D17): Efforts include reviewing historical mine maps to locate mine openings and associated entrances, determining where significant AMD flow is bypassing the current treatment system, conducting three-month sampling, and developing treatment options.
  • Broad Top Township – $40,390
    • Langdondale (LRO-D13/15 PTS Rehab): The project includes three months of water sampling to determine design options, completion of a National Resource Conservation Service Chapter 105 permit, and creation of a grading plan.

Butler County

  • Stream Restoration Incorporated – $251,797
    • De Sale West (Phase I and II Rehab): The project includes the water monitoring, planning and permitting required for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of De Sale's aging Phase I and II passive treatment systems.

Elk County

  • Elk County Conservation District – $224,007
    • Dark cave: Monitoring of the BBWA3888 AMD Treatment System will determine functionality, modify the current collection system, and involve engaging a consultant to redesign the system based on data. Construction plans and permits will be obtained if necessary.
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $1,931,602
    • West Creek: This project includes the construction of two passive AMD processing systems and the neutralization of three coal waste dumps near the headwaters of West Creek in Saint Mary's.

Northumberland County

  • Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance – $367,361
    • Big Mountain Road West: This project completes the engineering design and permitting required for the remediation of a large coal waste dump south of the city of Shamokin.

Westmoreland County

  • Export Borough Historical Society, Inc. – $139,233
    • export: This project includes design engineering and permitting required to close a mine opening and contain a subsidence-prone area in Export.

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

The impact of these projects goes beyond the 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.

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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Anna Harden

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