Positive Results Seen In Indian Creek

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s “2016 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Report.” This report is a snapshot of the waterbodies within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and evaluates if streams, rivers, and lakes are achieving federal water quality standards to protect and provide clean water for aquatic life, water supply, fish consumption, and recreational uses.

The Good News?- The majority of the Indian Creek watershed is attaining its designated use, including the entire mainstem of Indian Creek!

This includes the areas where the Kalp, Sagamore, and Gallentine treatment systems are located. However, there are 14.47 miles of streams listed as impaired for aquatic use within six tributary watersheds: Poplar Run, Champion Creek, and four unnamed tributaries to Indian Creek.  The source of impairments are from abandoned mine drainage, removal of vegetation, and land development causing siltation, turbidity, pH, and metals to impact area streams.

There are a total of 19,900 miles of the Commonwealth’s waterways are impaired do not meet federal water quality standards listed in this report. Along with our impaired streams, these waterways require the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). A TMDL is a restoration plan for impaired streams that identifies the maximum amount of a particular pollution that a stream can tolerate and still be within its water quality standard.

The Poplar Run watershed is the most impacted subwatershed with 7.46 stream miles listed as impaired from siltation and metals. The mainstem of Poplar Run from where Newmyer Run enters near Solomon Fulton Road to the confluence with Indian Creek is impaired. That includes the entire Newmyer Run watershed (2.47 miles) for which a TMDL was completed in 2004.  The Poplar Run watershed is one of MWA’s focus areas of restoration with three ongoing projects the Poplar Run Land Liming Project, Marsolino Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment System, and the Rondell-Correal Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment System.

Champion Creek from Shirley Road to confluence with Indian Creek (1.58 miles of stream) is designated as impaired from metals associated with abandoned mine drainage. MWA is actively working to restore and protect this watershed through the establishment of the Melcroft Abandoned Mine Treatment system, ensuring protections from the Rustic Ridge Deep Mine and through monitoring activities that include water sampling and conducting macroinvertebrate surveys.

There are also four unnamed tributaries that flow into Indian Creek between County Line Road and Hopewell Road in Saltlick Township that account for a combined 5.43 miles of impairment. Impairment at these sites is predominately siltation and turbidity from excessive removal of vegetation; however, abandoned mine drainage impacts of metals, total dissolved solids, and pH is also prevalent.

It is evident in this report that the conditions within the watershed have improved and with our hard work the watershed will continue on this successful path to attainment.