State to send $25M to help clean up a dozen abandoned coal mine sites

A pile of waste coal sits abandoned in Fredericktown. Photo: Reid Frazier

A pile of waste coal sits abandoned in Fredericktown. Photo: Reid Frazier

Pennsylvania announced approval of $25 million in funding for cleanup of abandoned mines at 12 sites around the state.

The money for the projects comes from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands fund, a Department of Interior program. The program is funded by a fee on current coal production, and goes to clean up mines that were developed before modern environmental rules were created for mines in the 1970s.

The work can include removing acid mine drainage from streams, repairing acidity in soil, and addressing other hazards, like sinkholes, unstable strip mine banks, and mine fires.

The Department of Environmental Protection selected the sites, which include four in Luzerne County and two in Schuylkill County:

Beaver County

  • Repair of an abandoned mine highwall at Zelienople Municipal Airport expansion, Franklin Township.

Cambria County

  • Removal of coal refuse from South Fork Little Conemaugh River, Stineman refuse pile reclamation/Path of the Flood Trail extension, South Fork Borough and Adams Township, and extension of The Path of the Flood Trail to the Johnstown Flood Memorial.

Carbon County

  • Stream restoration and trail construction along Quakake and Black creeks.

Clearfield County

  • Acid mine drainage treatment at Potts Run, Knox Township.

Lackawanna County

  • Subsidence abatement at Lackawanna College, Scranton.

Luzerne County

  • Regrading of 130 acres of mine land at CAN DO North Park Drive Business Park, Hazle Township.
  • Mine cleanup at Hollars Hill South Abandoned Mine Lands site and Cranberry Creek Gateway Project, Hazle Township.
  • Remediation of 55 acres of mined land, including 1,200 feet of dangerous mine highwalls, Earth Conservancy Bliss Bank 3 Business Park, Hanover and Newport townships.
  • Coal reclamation, floodplain restoration, Swoyersville refuse pile/community athletic complex, Swoyersville Borough.

Schuylkill County

  • Stream Restoration, Donaldson Culm Bank, Frailey Township. Nearly 18 acres of floodplain and wetlands will be created, reducing flooding, and the restored site will become an environmental park with trails.
  • Floodplain restoration, West Brunswick Township: Coal silt will be removed from 10 acres of clogged stream land, processed, and sold as fuel.

Venango County

  • TASA refuse piles/South Sandy Creek restoration, Irwin Township: About 200,000 tons of acid-forming coal refuse will be excavated and sent to Scrubgrass Generating Station for electricity generation.

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