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Abandoned Mine Drainage Project on Anderson Creek: KORB

Pike Township in association with the Anderson Creek Watershed Association (ACWA) applied for and received a Growing Greener grant to design and perform site reclamation work intended to abate the abandoned mine drainage (AMD) discharges identified as KORB 1, KORB 2, and KORB 3 that flow into an unnamed tributary to Anderson Creek.

The reclamation of the site will include testing of spoil material to determine possible uses, removal or capping of the spoil material, grading of the site, and the application of fly ash and soil amendment to aid in establishing vegetation at the site. An appropriate treatment system design will be incorporated with reclamation activities. An active treatment system may be necessary due to the severity of the degraded water flowing from the discharges. A watershed assessment and restoration plan was completed by the Western PA Conservancy in the Fall of 2006 and the KORB discharges are listed as top priorities in the Anderson Creek watershed.

The discharges at KORB 1, 2, & 3 emanate from an area that has been extensively deep mined. The discharges flow through a pipe that has been inserted to close the mine entrances. The discharges connect and create a channel before entering an unnamed tributary to Anderson Creek. KORB 1 is contributing 10 lbs/day of acidity, 0.5 lbs/day of iron and 0.2 lbs/day of aluminum. KORB 2 is contributing 246 lbs/day of acidity, 21 lbs/day of iron and 21 lbs/day of aluminum. KORB 3 is contributing 6 lbs/day of acidity, 0.2 lbs/day of iron and 0.5 lbs/day of aluminum. Through the remediation of these discharges, this pollution load will be removed from the main stem of Anderson Creek. Both the ACWA and Pike Township recognize the impacts these discharges have on the stream and the need to address it. Accordingly, the partners have turned to NMBS to provide professional support in this endeavor.

The Anderson Creek Watershed is located in Central Pennsylvania in Clearfield County. Anderson Creek encompasses parts of Bloom, Brady, Penn, Pike, Pine, and Union townships, and lies approximately seven miles west of Clearfield Borough and five miles east of the city of Dubois. Anderson Creek is contributing a total of 2000 lbs/day of acidity, 138 lbs/day of iron, 206 lbs/day of aluminum, and 260 lbs/day of manganese to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The Anderson Creek Watershed is used recreationally by outdoorsmen through hiking and hunting. It would be a large benefit to the area to be able to once again fish the entire length of Anderson Creek.

Several studies have identified Anderson Creek as a priority. The Upper West Branch Susquehanna River Conservation Plan identified the restoration of the Anderson Creek watershed as a priority in its management recommendations. The newly completed TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loading) study has also identified the watershed as severely impacted and a priority for restoration. It was noted in the studies that the main impact of this watershed is abandoned mine drainage. All previous studies were compiled in order to develop the restoration plan. Funding has been obtained from the EPA 319 program to construct a passive treatment system to remediate a discharge to Bilger Run. Due to the severity of the discharge an active treatment system will compliment the passive system. The funding for the active treatment will be provided by Reliant Energy through a trust fund.

Discharge KORB 1 is the fourth priority in the watershed, while KORB 2 is the first priority in the watershed, and KORB 3 is the sixth priority in the watershed. Site reclamation that will be tailored to the design of a treatment system will be the next positive step in the overall restoration of Anderson Creek, and water quality improvements to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.