DEP awards $1.7M for abandoned mine drainage

THE US Department of Environmental Protection has awarded a $US1.66 million ($A1.77 million) grant to the Clean Streams Foundation to maintain acid mine drainage treatment facilities in Butler, Cambria, Clarion and Venango counties in Pennsylvania.

Lou Caruana

The grant will allow CSF to operate and maintain nine existing water treatment plants that remove AMD from nearby waterways.

It includes costs incurred for water monitoring, treatment chemicals, system flushing, sludge removal and emergency repairs, among other things, according to DEP secretary E Christopher Abruzzo.

“It is important for us to fund facilities like these that are making a big impact on the water quality of our rivers and streams,” he said.

Collectively, the nine treatment facilities treat nearly one million gallons of mine-influenced water daily.

The grant will be paid to CSF over a period of five years.

It is the second grant DEP has awarded to CSF for the operation and maintenance of the treatment facilities.

In 2005, DEP entered into a consent order and agreement with C & K Coal Company to address post-mining issues, such as AMD.

In the COA, a trust fund was created by C & K to construct and operate AMD treatment plants in impacted areas. CSF was named as the trustee and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the AMD treatment facilities.

Until the trust grows to cover all operation and maintenance costs for the treatment facilities, DEP agreed to provide supplemental funding from the federal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Fund.

The fund is supported by a fee on the coal industry and is distributed to states as annual grants to reclaim abandoned minesites.