MWA Receives Growing Greener Funds for Kalp System Rehabilitation

On January 22, 2014, MWA was awarded $305,819.00 in Growing Greener Funding for rehabilitation of one of our existing abandoned mine discharge systems.  Prior to the construction of the Anna & Steve Gdosky Indian Creek Restoration Project (treating the Kalp discharge), 184 million gallons of abandoned mine water entered Indian Creek annually as a result of this discharge and local homeowners frequently experienced mine drainage in their yards and basements. This discharge was responsible for 38.5 tons of iron being deposited in Indian Creek each year. It also accounted for 42 percent of the acid load and 31 percent of the iron load in the Indian Creek watershed. In 2005, the original treatment system was constructed at a cost of over $3.4 million.  This system was the first in Pennsylvania to use directional drilling to capture the discharge from a mine pool.

Since the original construction, much has been learned about the directional drilling technique– including that boreholes must be cased in order to maintain their integrity.  In 2012 there was a collapse in both boreholes causing the mine pool elevation to back up to its pre-construction level. Mine water began to discharge from the mine and due to the threat to area homes, remediation efforts were started immediately.  The boreholes were redrilled and cased with stainless steel pipe and the mine pool elevation was lowered using caustic soda.  This project cost over $400,000 and was an accelerated response project through the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation and Bureau of Conservation and Restoration. In June 2012, a Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR) emergency response grant in the amount of $2,810 was received in order to add additional clean-out pipes and to clean system pipes in the up-flow bed of the treatment system.  In August 2013, MWA received another WPCAMR emergency response grant of up to $7,100 to alleviate some stress on the system via pipe cleaning in the up-flow bed and stone turning, repair of a leaking valve, and to conduct an autopsy of the vertical up-flow. However, after this initial rehab and the autopsy it became apparent additional refurbishment work on the treatment system is needed in order to restore it to optimal treatment efficiency. Proper functioning of this system is essential to the continued improvement of 10 miles of Indian Creek.

The Growing Greener funding will allow us to rehabilitate the treatment system so that it can once again function as originally designed. Quarterly water quality monitoring will continue to occur to ensure the treatment system is working effectively. MWA has taken the responsibility of routine operation and maintenance activities at the site from DEP and has developed an Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement plan to guide these efforts. Routine maintenance activities include quarterly water sampling, system flushing, vegetation controls, measurement of mine pool elevation, and quarterly site inspections.

MWA intends to solicit requests for proposals from area contractors.  In addition, it is our desire to utilize construction materials manufactured in the United States when economically feasible and applicable.  Rehabilitation of the system will allow for continued treatment and the continued restoration of the Indian Creek watershed.