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Design and Permitting of a Passive Treatment Project on Loop Run: Discharges LR-5 and LR-6

Loop Run: LR-5

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) in association with the Pennsylvania Game Commission is proposing to design and install a passive treatment system that will abate two abandoned mine drainage (AMD) discharges, LR-5 and LR-6 that form a tributary to Loop Run. The RMEF received a Growing Greener grant to perform a watershed assessment and complete a Restoration Plan on Loop Run which was completed in June 2004 by NMBS. The assessment has shown these two discharges to be the first significant source of pollution to Loop Run, along with degrading 0.9 miles of the tributary. By using passive treatment technology, we will restore the tributary and enhance the water quality of Loop Run.

Discharges LR-5 and LR-6 are located on Sate Game Lands. In 2001 the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation sold the Kelley Estate Property to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Of the 4,400 acres of the Kelley Estate, approximately 3,300 acres were purchased by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and is being managed as State Game Lands #321. The remaining 1100 acres, which includes over one mile of river frontage along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, is being managed as "Old Growth Forest" in the Sproul State Forest by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry. Both parcels are open to the public for recreational activities.

The Kelley Estate was initially impacted by several deep mines located throughout the property. Additional damage caused by preact surface mining in the forties and fifties left the area in total devastation. Subsequent remining under stricter environmental regulations brought improvements to the area but unfortunately, the entire area was not remined and restored due to economically irretrievable coal in some areas. Thus, mine drainage discharges are affecting the water quality of Loop Run.

LR-5 and LR-6 both emanate in spoil/highwall material, become ponded, cross under a road, and join to form a tributary to Loop Run. The area where the discharges flow are conducive to construction. They are already being ponded, so we feel that we can construct in the existing area of flow. This will greatly reduce excavation and construction costs. The existing ponded areas will be turned into treatment cells, and collected into one large polishing wetland before being discharged into the tributary.

Final products would be the completion of the design of the project, including engineering, E&S controls, and bid packages if necessary. The design would be complete in that it could be handed a contractor to begin construction. The permitting would also be completed for this area. Most likely a Joint Permit between PADEP and the Army Corp of Engineers would be needed due to the potential impacts to a wetland. A final report would be completed.