On August 19th, EPCAMR Executive Director, Robert Hughes, traveled to the Harrisburg area to speak at the Annual ARIPPA Technical Convention about the mini-grant awards to be allocated in the Fall of 2015, thanks to the ARIPPA donation of $2,500 to both EPCAMR and WPCAMR in support of our collective work with community partners in reclamation across Pennsylvania.
In the past, applications were submitted for AMD projects, educational efforts, outreach and awareness programs, operation and maintenance of AMD treatment systems, and educational signage, among others. These projects help the AMD impacted watersheds. All applicants support ARIPPA and their mission to remove waste coal piles in our communities, convert it into renewable energy, and reuse the coal ash at mine reclamation sites. The groups awarded funding maintain diverse partnerships and secure various funding sources to complete projects with EPCAMR and WPCAMR. All of the applicants want clean water, an improved environment, and a better quality of life for their communities and the fisheries they are working to protect across Pennsylvania.
In Eastern Pennsylvania, EPCAMR awarded three projects for the year of 2015. First is the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association (MCWA), who will be receiving $800 to cover the cost of 50 tons of high calcium carbonate limestone sand needed to treat the acidic conditions of the south branch of Mehoopany Creek, which is not only impacted by AMD, but also acid rain deposition in the headwaters.
Second is the Earth Conservancy (EC), who will be receiving $1,200 to design and build a wayside environmental education exhibit for the Askam AMD Borehole Maelstrom Oxidizer Treatment System, located in Hanover Township, along Nanticoke Creek. EC will partner with students and teachers from the Wilkes-Barre Area School District to create several points of interest and design elements at the AMD treatment site to be used by students throughout the Wyoming Valley that take tours provided by EPCAMR and EC. The students will tour the site, while learning about the AMD treatment system, mine pools, abandoned mine land reclamation, wetlands, wildlife habitat. They will then design the content and locations of the exhibits.
Third, and finally, is the McGlynn Learning Center, who will be awarded $500 to partner with Home Depot to build bluebird boxes for abandoned mine lands and AMD sites throughout the Wyoming Valley, as well as for their own community housing developments.
The funds will be used for transportation, supplies, and the creation of EPCAMR’s iron oxide wood stain to paint some of the bird boxes, while others will be painted. These bluebird boxes are being donated by Home Depot and will be used to allow for increased wildlife habitat and diversity of bird populations within their complexes and out on some of the AMD sites that will be visited by the students. The McGlynn Learning Center has been serving vulnerable children since 1988. The Center provides after-school funding for tutoring, recreational, and cultural activities at no cost to the children or families that live within the low-income housing town homes. EPCAMR has a long history of supporting the Center that goes back nearly two decades.
Remediation projects are costly and long-term endeavors, with costs averaging between $10-20,000 per acre, according to the Pennsylvania Mining Reclamation Advisory Board. The ARIPPA Reclamation Awards are designed to help watershed groups continue their volunteer efforts toward improving our environment.
Organized in 1989, ARIPPA is a non-profit trade association representing alternative energy plants that remove coal refuse from AML areas, convert it into alternative energy, and use the ash byproduct to reclaim thousands of acres of mine-scarred lands and hundreds of miles of formerly dead streams, without any expenditure of tax dollars. To date, over 212 million tons of coal refuse has been converted into alternative energy by member plants. ARIPPA uses Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology, one of the cleanest methods available today.
The unique nature of ARIPPA’s environmental efforts, combined with the desire to coordinate these efforts with “hands-on” environmentally-oriented groups and governmental agencies, symbolizes its commitment to improving the nation’s landscape and environment. Updates and further information on the “coal refuse to alternative energy” industry can be found by using the links below.