The headwaters of the Schuylkill River are located in the serene mountain valleys of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. An area rich in scenic beauty and coal mining history, the Little Schuylkill and Upper Schuylkill Rivers are designated coldwater fisheries and the Schuylkill main stem is a State Scenic River at the confluence of these two tributary waterways.
Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) is the primary cause of pollution in the Schuylkill River headwaters and the biggest source of metals downstream. AMD is created deep below the ground in abandoned mines where streams, groundwater, and stormwater fill tunnels that were once kept dry by active pumping operations. Water and oxygen react with lingering iron sulfide (pyrite) producing metal-laden and sometimes highly acidic discharges that exit the tunnels in telltale orange and silver plumes, easily visible in these regional surface waters (excerpt from the Schuylkill Action Network “AMD Overview” document).
Reports on the Watershed:
Photos from the Watershed: