On Monday, January 16th, 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced that Mountain Watershed Association (MWA) was awarded a total of $222,482 for the The Kalp Passive Treatment System Redesign and Development project through their Growing Greener program.
The Kalp Passive Treatment System Redesign and Development project would entail purchasing property which neighbors the current Kalp AMD Passive Treatment System as well as design a treatment system expansion on the site in order to increase efficiency of the system.
The current treatment system, built in 2007, treats 38.5 tons of iron every year from the Kalp discharge, polluted water exiting the abandoned Kalp mine. The 16 year old system is currently only 71% efficient in removing iron and 72% effective in removing aluminum. Currently the system is experiencing overflow issues as the pipes in the initial upflow bed have clogged because the system is undersized, requiring an upgrade and expansion.
Current Kalp Abandoned Mine Discharge Treatment System
The Kalp Passive Treatment System is located in Saltlick Township, Fayette County. The current treatment system property is owned and maintained by Mountain Watershed Association (MWA).
The Growing Greener grant award will be used to purchase the 8.5 acre property neighboring the current Kalp Passive Treatment System in order to expand and increase efficiency of the current treatment system which can not handle the level of discharge from the abandoned Kalp mine.
After MWA purchases the neighboring property, MWA would also use the grant funds to contract Hedin Environmental to investigate the current system and neighboring property as well as develop a rehabilitation plan and design for a more effective treatment system. Once a design has been received, MWA will apply for additional funding to support the rehabilitation of the system.
Increasing the efficiency of the Kalp Passive Treatment System is essential to protecting Indian Creek watershed from the Kalp Discharge.The Kalp discharge flows into Indian Creek which is currently not listed as impaired for abandoned mine drainage because of the efforts of Mountain Watershed and Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation’s installation of the Kalp Mine Drainage Treatment system.
Prior to treatment system construction, approximately 184 million gallons of mine water were discharged directly into Indian Creek, depositing 38.5 tons of iron. This discharge accounted for 42% of the acid load and 31% of the iron load for the entire Indian Creek watershed. The discharge entering Indian Creek gave the stream an orange appearance and negatively impacted biodiversity in the stream. The current treatment system captures the mine water before it enters the stream and forces it to flow through a series of ponds which remove metals and acid from the mine water before it is released into Indian Creek. The system has allowed Indian Creek to bounce back, now a popular fishery absent of an orange tint.
Thanks to the support of the Department of Environmental Protection and the landowners neighboring the Kalp Passive Treatment System, Mountain Watershed Association is on track to hold an additional 8.5 acres of property and design a rehabilitation plan to ensure that the Kalp Passive Treatment System continues to keep the Indian Creek watershed safe.