On August 19th, EPCAMR Executive Director, Robert E. Hughes, traveled to the Harrisburg/Hershey 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 donation of $2500 to both EPCAMR and WPCAMR to support our collective work with our community partners in reclamation across PA.
Applications were submitted for on the ground AMD projects, educational efforts, outreach and awareness programs, operation and maintenance of AMD treatment systems, educational signage, and limestone, to name a few examples of funded projects in the past. These projects are directly affecting water quality of AMD impacted watersheds. All applicants support ARIPPA and the job that they do to remove waste coal piles in our coalfield communities and the beneficial use of CFB ash for mine reclamation. The groups that have been 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 and greener environment, and a better quality of life for their communities and the fisheries they are working to protect across PA.
In Eastern PA, EPCAMR has awarded three projects in 2015. First, is the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association (MCWA), who will be receiving $800, to cover the costs of 50 Tons of high calcium carbonate limestone sand to treat the acidic conditions of the S. Branch of Mehoopany Creek, which is not only impacted by AMD, but also acid rain deposition in the headwaters.
Second, is the Earth Conservancy, who will be receiving $1200, for an outdoor educational project that intends to design and build a wayside environmental education informational exhibit for the Askam AMD Borehole Maelstrom Oxidizer Treatment System located in Hanover Township, PA, Luzerne County, along the Nanticoke Creek and Dundee Road. EC is partnering 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 from throughout the Wyoming Valley that take trips to the site provided by EPCAMR and EC. The students will get to tour the site, learn about the AMD Treatment System, mine pools, AMD, abandoned mine land reclamation, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and then will come back to design the content and vantage points for the wayside exhibits.
Third, and finally, the McGlynn Learning Center, located in the Wilkes-Barre Boulevard Townhomes, Wilkes-Barre, PA, a safe and welcoming place for children and youth who reside in the same housing development where the Executive Director grew up, and the Mineral Springs Village, located in Plains Township, PA that are committed to education and community service will be awarded a $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 development.
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 townhomes. 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 beneficially utilize the ash by-product to reclaim thousands of acres of mine-scarred lands and hundreds of miles of formerly dead streams back to their natural state, without any expenditure of tax dollars. To date over 212 million tons of coal refuse have been converted into alternative energy by member plants. Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology, one of the cleanest methods available today, is used to convert coal refuse into electricity and an alkaline-rich ash by-product utilized for decades in a highly regulated, safe, and beneficial manner to fill and reclaim unsafe, abandoned mine lands; to remediate streams damaged by acid mine drainage; amend soil at mining sites, and serve as an additive in concrete/asphalt for construction and roadways.
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 our nation’s landscape and environment. Updates and further information on the “coal refuse to alternative energy” industry can be found at:
Linked In: www.linkedin.com/pub/arippa-org/2b/195/309