AMD Environmental Education & Pottery Art Program Tours Scheduled for Greater Nanticoke Area’s 4th & 5th Grade

 

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(Ashley, PA)– EPCAMR, the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Wilkes University, Misericordia University, Earth Conservancy, and Greater Nanticoke Area Elementary (GNA) have partnered for an Environmental Education Outreach and Pottery Art Program to teach students about abandoned mine drainage (AMD) water pollution problems in the Southern Wyoming Valley watersheds and how those pollution sources can be solved in creative ways reusing one of the by-products of past mining practices.  EPCAMR, who specializes in restoring streams impacted by AMD, conducting community cleanups, and providing education and outreach efforts to many regional schools throughout the Coal Region recently received a $3000 environmental education grant through the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Education Grant Program in order to fund our project through the Summer of 2015. EPCAMR has purchased two pottery wheels, clay, and supplies to support the project.

 

EPCAMR will be taking the entire 4th & 5th grade classes from GNA to multiple AMD impacted sites within the School District and in S. Wilkes-Barre. Seven field trips are planned that  will allow students to experience where the iron oxide comes from before heading to EPCAMR to see how iron oxide can be processed and re-used in art projects. The iron oxide can be used for painting, tie-dying, making chalk, and creating pottery glazes. EPCAMR, with the help of Jean Adams of Wilkes University & Skip Sensbach of Misericordia University, both Artists and Professors who will be teaching the students at GNA how to create pottery and use reclaimed iron oxide in order to create sustainable art. GNA’s Mrs. Michelle Kordek, is assisting with the coordination of the project with EPCAMR, both inside and outside of the classroom. The students will be creating art after the Winter Christmas Break in early 2015 in their art classroom where they will be dipping their pottery that they create in one of several iron oxide glazes that will be mixed by EPCAMR and the Artists. EPCAMR plans to create its very own regional glaze mixture of iron oxide by the end of the project.

EPCAMR’s Executive Director and local resident of Nanticoke, Robert Hughes, who has worked previously with the Greater Nanticoke Area to bring grants and outdoor environmental education programs to the District over the last 8 years is happy to be able to bring this type of interdisciplinary education approach to the 4th and 5th grade students at GNA. He goes on to say:

“I really think that our students need to gain an understanding of the local world around them and the impacts that it is having on them directly or indirectly, whether or not they know what those problems are at this point in their young lives or not. By having our regional non-profit organization bring the students out into the surrounding local streams and watersheds that are within two miles of their own backyard and school to learn about the environmental impacts to our community is something that they should at least be aware of as they get older. They should understand why their rivers and streams are orange, smell like sulfur, where this mine water is coming from, and what can be done and is being done to clean it up. They should learn that they can become a part of the solution and become actively engaged in local stream cleanups or illegal dump site cleanups that EPCAMR has already coordinated within the School District and greater Southern Wyoming Valley. Those students who might want to become artists will also have another outlet and medium to work in once we show them how to recycle the iron oxide from these mine discharges that can be used for multiple art mediums in the classroom. These are just some of the reasons why I’ve decided to pursue this grant and was successful in having our organization receive the innovative grant award to serve our community first. I want my hometown to be the first School District to have the opportunity to utilize our regional iron oxide glazes that we will be creating and using in the classroom when we create some pottery art next year.”

 

The AMD Field Tours are going to be in the mornings from around 8am-12 noon on the following dates: November 21, November 24, November 25, November 26, December 2, December 3, and December 5.

Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) is caused by a reaction between pyrite, fool’s gold, and the oxygen present in the water. The result is a thick orange sediment which coats the stream bottom and makes it difficult for native plants and animals to live in the water. 5500 miles of streams in PA are polluted by AMD. www.epcamr.org 

 

Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) Environmental Education

 & Pottery Art Program Tour Agenda (Leave from GNA Elementary Center around 8AM)

 

Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD)

– Pollutant that occurs as a result of past coal mining practices

– AMD forms when water from underground mines mixes with pyrite (fool’s gold) and oxygen to form rust

– The result is an orange muck which settles on the bottom of rivers and streams and pollutes the water  and makes it hard for plants & animals to survive.

 

Site 1: Red Lake

– Former Stripping Pit and municipal landfill at the far end of the pit looking north for the Glen Nan Colliery

– Orange/Red coloration from AMD upwelling into the stripping pit

– 20 acre lake bubbles and gurgles as water rushes into the lake from seeps and old mine gangways along the easterly portion of the stripping pit

– AMD from Red Lake meets up with the Honey Pot Discharge (Site #2)

Robert Hughes,  Executive Director of Eastern PA Coalition for abandoned mine reclamation, takes water samples in mine drainage in Newport Township, Luzerne County, below Red Lake- (Michael J. Mullen)

Robert Hughes, Executive Director of Eastern PA Coalition for abandoned mine reclamation, takes water samples in mine drainage in Newport Township, Luzerne County, below Red Lake- (Michael J. Mullen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site 2: Honey Pot Discharge

– Discharges from an abandoned air shaft (#7) from the former Susquehanna #7 Colliery

– Was once the slackwater section for the Susquehanna North Branch Canal. Boats would come along the canal near Access Road to be loaded with coal.

– 2000 gal/minute average flow with high iron loading that eventually reaches the Newport Creek and  Susquehanna River

– Where EPCAMR get most of our iron oxide

– Have students assist with getting iron oxide

 

Wilkes University Volunteer cleaning up trash along the Honey Pot AMD discharge near the LCCC Park-n-Ride.

Wilkes University Volunteer cleaning up trash along the Honey Pot AMD discharge near the LCCC Park-n-Ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site 3: Solomon Creek Boreholes

– 6 Boreholes (5 new & 1 old), 2 old ones collapsed and were replaced with 5 new ones

– Third largest borehole drainage area in the region

– 20 million gallons of water per day

– Boreholes are 240 feet deep

Solomon Creek AMD Boreholes in South Wilkes-Barre

Solomon Creek AMD Boreholes in South Wilkes-Barre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site 4: Askam Borehole AMD Treatment System (20 minutes)

– Askam Borehole drilled in the 1970’s to relieve water pressure from underground mines causing water  to go into residential basements;

– Collapsed in 1998 and two new boreholes had to be drilled on the other side of Dundee Road in between SR 29 and along the streambank of Nanticoke Creek

– Askam Treatment System uses the Maelstrom Oxidizer which uses a series of tubes which push air   into the water and cause the iron to fall out, making the water cleaner as it                      enters back into Nanticoke Creek following the dropping out of the iron in the series of ponds and baffles used to slow down the  water

– 3500 gal/minute into system

– Have students monitor water level (depth to the mine pool) at the Borehole with the Solonist Tape

Askam AMD Borehole along Dundee Road.

Askam AMD Borehole along Dundee Road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site 5: EPCAMR Office

– Show students iron oxide station and examples of reuse of the pigment for various products

– Iron Oxide Solar Kiln for Drying and Processing AMD and converting into iron oxide packets for sale

EPCAMR AMD Solar Kiln

EPCAMR AMD Solar Kiln

        

EPCAMR’S Believe It or Not!

Remember those old “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” cartoons?

EPCAMR staff has created its own version to highlight some of the oddities found around the Coal Region. In honor of Halloween, we’ve decided to showcase our first three “EPCAMR’s Believe It or Not!” cartoons! They are “The Loch-Mess Monster of Red Lake,” “The Avondale Pit Cheerio Bowl,” and “The Curse of SHARP Mountain.” EPCAMR will be releasing a few “EPCAMR’s Believe It or Not!” cartoons each month. Keep an eye out and enjoy!

The Loch-Mess Monster of Red Lake

Our first oddity is based on Red Lake, also known as Newport Lake. Red Lake is located in Nanticoke, PA and was once a stripping pit for the Glen Man Colliery. It gets its name from  the abandoned mine drainage (AMD) flowing in from mine discharges around the area. The 20-acre polluted lake has been left untreated and many come to view the strange coloration left behind by iron-oxide from the AMD.

LochMessMonster

 

 

The Avondale Pit Cheerio Bowl

The Avondale Pit Cheerio Bowl was once a stripping pit located in the Avondale section of Nanticoke, PA. This stripping pit has since been reclaimed but was once a prime illegal-dump site filled with hundreds of old tires, trash, and even a rusted car! Avondale is also the location of the worst mine disaster in Pennsylvania history. The disaster occurred because the breaker, which was located directly above the shaft, caught fire, trapping the miners inside.

AvondaleCheerioBowl-2

 

The Curse of SHARP Mountain

Sharp Mountain is located in Pottsville, PA. The mountain was heavily mined for anthracite through the early to mid 1900s. It’s called “Sharp Mountain” because of the steeply pitched anthracite coal veins. Today, the veins remain exposed, leaving the mountain with 43-acres of crop falls. There has been an ongoing “Sharp Mountain Reclamation Project” to attempt to close the open veins, some of which go down 300 ft. So far the project has had little success.

SharpMountain-1

 

POLARIS Trails Grant Program Awards EPCAMR $10,000 for ATV Purchases and Field Monitoring Equipment

EPCAMR has been recently selected as one out of hundreds of applications from across the country who submitted to the POLARIS Trails Grant Program to receive $10,000 to support our regional work and technical assistance to coalfield communities throughout Northeastern and NorthCentral PA. Grants will not be paid in full until receipt of a Final Summary Report. $1000 will be held until the final report has been received. The first of its kind in the ATV industry, the T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program was launched in January 2006 for ATV clubs, associations and grassroots groups. ATV riders and the trails they use are the lifeblood of the sport and Polaris Industries Inc. aimed to create a program to help. The T.R.A.I.L.S. program makes funds available to national, state and local organizations in the United States to ensure the future of ATV riding.

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T.R.A.I.L.S. stands for:

  • T = Trail Development
  • R = Responsible Riding
  • A = Access
  • I = Initiatives
  • L = Lobbying
  • S = Safety

Polaris LogoPolaris’s grant program encompasses two main objectives – promoting safe and responsible riding, and preserving access. Funds can be used by organizations for trail development and maintenance projects, safety and education initiatives, and other projects to increase and maintain land access.

EPCAMR will be assessing the safety and future potential trail development on abandoned mine lands throughout Northeastern and NorthCentral PA in partnership with the Earth Conservancy , PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR), PA Game Commission (PGC), and other private landowners including County Governments that we work with on reclaiming abandoned mine sites remediating streams impacted by polluted mine water and the creation of trails and open space areas. EPCAMR will be assessing and surveying the potential hazards around the development maintenance and construction of trails on these abandoned mine sites to increase the public’s knowledge of them potential for future access and to justify the need for State or Federal funding to improve the health and safety aspects on many of these sites, including the identification of illegal dump sites and recommendations for future cleanup. EPCAMR will also be better suited to access areas where we currently are monitoring abandoned mine discharges at tunnel locations, shafts, slopes, breaches, and other surface water impoundments that are contributing abandoned mine drainage (AMD) into the surrounding watersheds and communities that we serve.

2012-Polaris-Sportsman-500-Orange-Madness

EPCAMR has been in need of an ATV to access these sites for years to get our field monitoring equipment maintenance equipment, spray paint for the various trails, supplies, cameras, GPS units, and water monitoring equipment that often times have to be backpacked in and out of these sites on the back’s of Staff that can way upwards of 30-40 pounds. The funds would be used to purchase an ATV or ATVs with enough space to transport a few staff and the necessary equipment to conduct all of our field work. It will also support other outreach and education materials that will be developed by the EPCAMR Staff over the course of the year, including posters, trail maps, additional partnerships with private landowners to discuss access issues, coordination of illegal dump site cleanups on abandoned mine lands, and the health and safety factors present on these sites that EPCAMR is all too familiar with. EPCAMR in the past has been an active member of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Outdoor Recreational Committee and is very familiar with issues surrounding ATVs public access for ATV users and other forms of recreational trail user groups. EPCAMR also has a long-standing relationship with many coal land operators, coal companies, large landowners, and other regional non-profit conservancy groups throughout Northeastern and NorthCentral PA.

 

ATVs on Mine Lands

The benefits of this project will be that more miles of trails, streams impacted by AMD, and abandoned mine lands can be surveyed and assessed more quickly and with the proper equipment being able to be brought in and out of the sites to perform the necessary site surveys for public health and safety. No organization is doing this right now in Northeastern PA on abandoned mine lands that we are aware of and EPCAMR has a 20 year history of working on abandoned mine land reclamation trail projects, stream restoration projects, community outreach, and environmental education programs in our coalfield communities. We have existing relationships with Off-Road Vehicle Clubs 4X4 Clubs and Off-Road Magazines that can help us promote our work and the Polaris T.R.A.I.L.S. program. Currently our regional non-profit lacks the transportation to get to these sites to properly assess and survey them other than hiking and walking in to them for miles with heavy backpacks and numerous trips due to the inability to get in and out with everything we need in one trip, therefore creating additional time that is necessary to double back and walk in and out of these areas over and over again.

 

EPCAMR will list the Polaris T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program on our website (epcamr.org), FaceBook (EPCAMR), and on our PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Community Facebook Group page. EPCAMR will be incorporating the Polaris logo with permission into our trail maps and other reports that are likely to be produced. EPCAMR will shoot our own HD video and create a poster of us performing maintenance surveys and taking photographs of scenic vistas, AMD, illegal dumping sites, before and after photos of anticipated cleanups, potential hazards, and vertical mine openings or water-filled stripping pits often located on these properties to increase the education outreach and awareness that is necessary to promote safety on these trails, haul roads, and abandoned railroad grades.

EPCAMR Executive Director, Robert E. Hughes, who wrote the grant application on a lead from EPCAMR’s Community Development Coordinator Volunteer, Frank Knorek, who did some initial homework on potential sources of funding such as this application program that would be able to assist EPCAMR in fulfilling it’s mission. “I appreciate Frank’s due diligence and investigative abilities to find us the source of grant funds that were out there.” Most of the time, it’s the wee hours in the morning, when I have the time that is completely uninterrupted where I can focus on writing down what EPCAMR needs that will at the same time fulfill the needs of the grantors. This grant was no different. Earlier in the Summer, on June 29th, I sat down that evening and within a few hours had plugged in to the online application why we needed this grant for these types of vehicles and field monitoring equipment. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call two days ago from Jennifer Kuzma, Polaris Industries Inc.-Marketing & Event Coordinator from Medina, Minnesota. These funds will be put to good use.”

CLEAN WATER COUNTS! IN LUZERNE COUNTY: CBF APPLAUDS COUNCIL FOR ADOPTING CLEAN WATER RESOLUTION

For Immediate Release

Contact    Kelly Donaldson, 717.234.5550, ext. 4205

 

Resolution Recognizes Significance of Clean Water in the Keystone State

 

(HARRISBURG) – The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds the Luzerne County Council for adopting a Clean Water Counts resolution, calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Keystone State.

“Healthy families, strong communities, and a thriving Pennsylvania economy depend on clean water,” said Harry Campbell, CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director. “We applaud and thank Luzerne County Council members for publicly voicing their support for clean water in the Keystone State.”

CBF embarked on the Clean Water Counts campaign in response to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) most recent statewide surface waters assessment. The results show that of the 86,000 miles of waterways flowing through the Commonwealth, nearly 20,000 miles are polluted. They also reported that the top pollution sources are agricultural activities, abandoned mine drainage (AMD), and runoff from urban and suburban communities. EPCAMR is a partner in that campaign.

Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) pollutes more than 5,500 miles of Pennsylvania’s waterways, and its bright orange, or often neon-blue hue is visually haunting. But AMD does more than just pollute, it literally renders a stream lifeless. There are no fish, crayfish, not even grasses in these toxic streams.

In Luzerne County, streams like the Nescopeck and Sugarloaf, even the mighty Lackawanna River, which is a major tributary of the Susquehanna River, are polluted by AMD. In total, 165 of the 1,238 miles of waterways flowing through the County are devastated by AMD. Other sources of pollution include urban and suburban runoff, which accounts for 32 miles of impairment, and sources categorized as unknown and other, which together account for 60 miles of pollution.

For nearly two decades, the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), the leading regional non-profit environmental organization dealing with AMD, has been working in Luzerne County, and in other coalfield communities throughout the north eastern and north central coal regions of Pennsylvania to educate residents, and to assist with the reclamation of the lands, streams, and other natural resources polluted by AMD.

Robert Hughes, Executive Director of the program, is committed to turning things around in the region and in Luzerne County.

“We’re grateful for this public support of clean water by the Luzerne Council members,” said Hughes. “Out of the top 20 prioritized abandoned mine discharges within the Anthracite Region of the Susquehanna River Basin, 12 of them have concentrated, devastating impacts in Luzerne County. It’s EPCAMR’s mission to educate, seek funding for reclamation, and to help improve our local communities. Luzerne County’s new Clean Water Counts resolution will support us in those daily efforts.”

Robert Hughes,  Executive Director of Eastern PA Coalition for abandoned mine reclamation, takes water samples in a mine drainage in Newport Township, Luzerne County, PA (Michael J. Mullen)

Robert Hughes, Executive Director of Eastern PA Coalition for abandoned mine reclamation, takes water samples in a mine drainage discharge from the Newport Lake (a water-filled stripping pit) in Newport Township, Luzerne County, PA (Michael J. Mullen)

Through public education and engagement, CBF is hoping to increase awareness of water pollution issues, like those in Luzerne County, and elsewhere in the Keystone State. The goal is to urge state officials to make clean water a priority and commit the needed funding and programs to ensure that the waters that we rely on for drinking and household uses, recreation, and to grow our food, all meet clean water standards.

In addition to calling on local officials to pass resolutions, CBF is also asking something of citizens.

“We’re asking all Pennsylvania residents to show their support for clean water by signing the Clean Water Counts online petition,” said Campbell. “It takes only a few minutes, but your signature will go a long way toward demonstrating the importance of clean water to our elected officials.”

 

Old Forge AMD Borehole entering the Lackawanna River

Old Forge AMD Borehole entering the Lackawanna River

Online petition signatures will be accepted through October 18th, the anniversary of the Clean Water Act. To learn more about the campaign go to cbf.org/PAForCleanWater.

EPCAMR Awards 3 Mini-Grants to Regional Projects through Donated Funds from ARIPPA totaling $2500

The Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association’s (ARIPPA) Executive Director, Jeff A McNelly, reported that ARIPPA plant members have collectively donated over $50,000 to various deserving volunteer watershed and conservancy groups actively battling Pennsylvania’s largest environmental problem…AML and AMD over the last 5 years.

 

Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director and Andy McAllister-WPCAMR Regional Coordinator accept the $5000 check from ARIPPA

Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director and Andy McAllister-WPCAMR Regional Coordinator accept the $5000 check from ARIPPA

ARIPPA awarded $5,000 in August at their Annual Awards Luncheon and $45,000 in the past to watershed organizations performing Abandoned Mine Land (AML) and/or Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) remediation improvements that are partners of EPCAMR and WPCAMR. Award recipients have included: Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Altman Run-Watershed, Babb Creek Watershed, Blackleggs Creek Watershed, Chestnut Ridge Chapter Trout Unlimited, Clearfield Creek Watershed, Earth Conservancy, Eastern Middle Anthracite Region Recovery, Evergreen Conservancy, Huber Breaker Preservation Society, Lackawanna River Corridor Association, Loyalsock Creek Watershed, Luzerne Conservation District, Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association, Plymouth Historical Society, Schuylkill Headwaters Association, Sewickley Creek Watershed, and the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance.

 

Awards are granted under the guidance and administration of Eastern and Western Pennsylvania Coalitions for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR and WPCAMR respectively). EPCAMR and WPCAMR are the two leading, regional environmental non-profit associations organized to encourage the reclamation, remediation, and redevelopment of lands and streams impacted by past mining practices. “EPCAMR and WPCAMR oversee the solicitation of proposals each year, review them, recommend them for awards, and then provide the selected award winners with checks following the ARIPPA Annual Awards Luncheon in August. Each year we publicize the request for applications a few times a year and usually look forward to at least 4-6 applications knowing that we only $2500 per Coalition to distribute. It’s a very simple application process. I’m surprised there aren’t more applications, honestly. Hopefully in 2015, we’ll get more. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That hasn’t stopped us from redistributing the donation from ARIPPA at all. 100% of the funding goes out each and every year and we are proud of the projects that we can support on the ground in partnership with ARIPPA,” stated Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director. ARIPPA is also represented on the EPCAMR Board of Directors as an Industry Trade Association representative.

 

The 3 EPCAMR Award Winning Projects for 2014 are as follows:

$ 1300 will go to the Babb Creek Watershed Association (BCWA) for the cost of 1 of the 2 replacement stainless steel runners that are needed for the Antrim AMD MicroHydroPower Treatment Plant.

Corroded Runner at the Antrim MicroHydro Turbine AMD Treatment Plant

Corroded Runner at the Antrim MicroHydro Turbine AMD Treatment Plant

New Runner at the Antrim MicroHydro Turbine AMD Treatment Plant

New Runner at the Antrim MicroHydro Turbine AMD Treatment Plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$ 700 will be administered by EPCAMR on behalf of a group of volunteers led by Joe Sapienza Jr., Director of a recent short documentary on Centralia, who sought EPCAMR’s technical assistance to coordinate a large illegal dumpsite cleanup effort, called Cleanup Centralia! on October 25th, 2014 this Fall to fund the hauling of waste and debris from three locations in and around Centralia, Byrnesville, and along Big Mine Run Road. Cleanup supplies, shovels, rakes, grass seed, wildflower mix, and NO DUMPING signs will also be picked up and housed with EPCAMR.

Illegal Dump Pile in Centralia near the Odd Fellows Cemetery that will be one of the sites cleaned up on October 25th

Illegal Dump Pile in Centralia near the Odd Fellows Cemetery that will be one of the sites cleaned up on October 25th

 

$  500 will go to the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association (MCWA) for the purchase of 17 Tons of limestone sand to treat the acidic conditions of the South Branch Mehoopany Creek that will be placed in the Spring of 2015 ahead of the melt of from the Winter.

 

Rock Vein Construction on Mehoopany Creek

Rock Vein Construction on Mehoopany Creek

Confluence of the S. Branch and N. Branch of the Mehoopany Creek that will benefit from the limestone sand dosing

Confluence of the S. Branch and N. Branch of the Mehoopany Creek that will benefit from the limestone sand dosing

 

Watershed protection and abandoned mine land reclamation are two of the fastest growing areas of community-based collaboration in the Commonwealth of PA. Throughout the country, watershed groups are playing an increasingly prominent role in environmental management. 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 partnership with EPCAMR/WPCAMR are designed to help watershed groups and community groups continue their volunteer efforts toward improving our environment.

 

 

 

Organized in 1988, 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 has 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-products 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.

CLEAN WATER COUNTS! TO WYOMING COUNTY CBF APPLAUDS COMMISSIONERS FOR ADOPTING CLEAN WATER RESOLUTION

Contact Kelly Donaldson, 717.234.5550, ext. 4205

Resolution Recognizes Significance of Clean Water in the Keystone State

 

(HARRISBURG) – The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds the Wyoming County Commissioners for adopting a Clean Water Countsresolution, calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Keystone State.

 

Wyoming County Commissioners are the first to officially join the statewide effort lead by CBF, by passing a resolution. CBF embarked on the Clean Water Counts campaign in response to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) most recent statewide assessment of the health of surface waters, which reported that nearly 20,000 miles of rivers and streams that we rely on for drinking and household uses, recreation, and to grow our food, are polluted.

 

Bowman's Creek, outside of Tunkhannock, PA Wyoming Cty

Bowman’s Creek, outside of Tunkhannock, PA Wyoming Cty

 

Through public education and engagement, the resolution campaign CBF urges officials to make clean water a priority and to commit the needed funding and programs to ensure that all 83,000 miles of waterways in the state are clean.

 

DEP’s survey results conclude that agricultural activities pollute the greatest miles of waterways followed by the legacy of coal mining and impacts from abandoned mine drainage, as well as polluted runoff, or stormwater, from our urban and suburban communities, including roads.

 

“Healthy families, strong communities, and a thriving Pennsylvania economy depend on clean water,” said Harry Campbell, CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director. “We applaud and thank the Commissioners of Wyoming County for publicly voicing their support for clean water for the Keystone State.”

 

In addition to calling on local officials to pass resolutions, CBF is also asking something of citizens.

 

“We’re asking all Pennsylvania residents to show their support for clean water by signing the Clean Water Counts online petition,” said Campbell. “It takes only a few minutes, but it goes a long way toward demonstrating the importance of clean water to our elected officials.” EPCAMR Executive Director, Robert Hughes, urges all County Commissioners and Home Rule County Councils to do the same, particularly in our Anthracite Coal Region, where a majority of our streams are impacted by AMD.

 

Online petition signatures will be accepted through October 18th, the anniversary of the Clean Water Act. To learn more about the campaign go to cbf.org/PAForCleanWater.

EPCAMR Promotes Two Mining GIS Technical Assistance Center Staff Recently

Just a few short weeks ago Kelsey Biondo and Dave Svab were promoted to new positions within EPCAMR on the PA DEP Mine Map Project. “There are so many great projects happening in and out of the EPCAMR Office that is has been difficult to keep up on letting the public know of the importance not only of our work, but of the expertise and knowledge of our own Staff that are critical to our ongoing success, Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director, enthusiastically stated.  The Mine Map Project roject aims to scan, geo-reference, and digitize mine maps from the entire Anthracite Region, with a recent focus on the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys, in order to make it easier for the general public and businesses to find out if what lies beneath them is in fact an underground abandoned mine, or a stable location, suitable to both build a home, or even to locate a business. These maps, once put into the digital archives of the

PHUMMIS Logo

PHUMMIS Logo

PA Historic Underground Mine Mapping Inventory System (PHUMMIS) online, can then be looked at in detail by the public to see if they would need to apply for Mine Subsidence Insurance. A large majority of the public in the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley alone, don’t have mine subsidence insurance, and this effort will help to either alleviate their concerns about the underground mine workings or it could lead them to purchase the insurance as a necessity should something like a mine subsidence hole open up in their neighborhood or under their home.

 

 

Kelsey Biondo, who has been working on the project since its start in October 2013, was promoted to GIS Mine Map Program Coordinator. Kelsey was also a former EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Intern with EPCAMR. “Over the last year, Kelsey has become proficient in all aspects of the DEP Mine Map Project and has gained valuable experience that I think will allow her to oversee the successful implementation of the project and the workloads of the other two part-time Staff  and any seasonal interns that might join us throughout the year. I can’t tell you enough how proficient, professional, and hard-working our Staff really are. I think they enjoy their jobs. I try to get them the right mix of field work, breaks from the computer screens, outdoor field learning experiences, and team spirit that makes our Office function well. We’ve often compared ourselves to the environmental version of “The Office”, with all of the personalities that mix very well throughout the work day and the public that walks through our doors often on a spur of the moment.” Robert stated with confidence.

 

Kelsey Biondo, EPCAMR's newly promoted GIS Mine Map Program Coordinator and her boyfriend Bill Smith.

Kelsey Biondo, EPCAMR’s newly promoted GIS Mine Map Program Coordinator and her boyfriend Bill Smith.

 

As GIS Mine Map Program Coordinator, Kelsey will submit monthly reports detailing EPCAMR’s progress on the project in addition to keeping an Inventory Control Sheet for organizational purposes of the thousands of maps that EPCAMR has been cataloguing, scanning, geo-referencing, and digitizing for the Commonwealth of PA. Other new responsibilities include assisting others working on the Mine Map Project along with increased communication with the Executive Director, Robert Hughes, and the Program Manager, Michael Hewitt on the Mine Map Project and other ongoing EPCAMR projects.

 

Perhaps the most exciting part of Kelsey’s new job as GIS Mine Map Program Coordinator is her promotion to Full Time! Congratulations Kelsey!

 

Dave Svab, who has been working on the project since April 2014, was promoted from Part-time GIS Technician to Part-time GIS Specialist. When Dave first began work on the Mine Map Project, he started out by simply scanning maps and cataloging data into PHUMMIS, the State computer system where all of the digital map information is stored. Dave was a former volunteer with EPCAMR, who then became a Watershed Outreach Intern, working with EPCAMR on stream restoration projects, environmental education programs, water monitoring efforts, and illegal dump site and stream cleanups. “Dave has worked his way up the ranks, much like every other Staff person within EPCAMR has, learning along the way about the multidisciplinary aspects of our work in the EPCAMR Region on a number of projects and programs that we have to juggle and coordinate.” stated Robert.

Dave Svab (second from Robert)-GIS Specialist, and the EPCAMR Crew on the Sugar Notch Trail

Dave Svab (second from Robert)-GIS Specialist, and the EPCAMR Crew on the Sugar Notch Trail

 

As a GIS Specialist, Dave is now familiar with certain aspects of GIS and is able to geo-reference maps. In addition, because Dave has gained knowledge about GIS and geo-referencing, he is now able to assist others on the Mine Map Project.  Congratulations Dave!

EPCAMR adds Peter Falvey, Senior from Misericordia University as our Fall Public Relations/Communications Intern

Peter Falvey is a Senior studying Communications at Misericordia University. Peter is originally from Wallingford, PA. He is graduating in the Winter of 2014. After Graduation, he is hoping to find a job in the Public Relations field.

Peter Falvey, EPCAMR's Fall Communications & Outreach PR Intern from Misericordia University.

Peter Falvey, EPCAMR’s Fall Communications & Outreach PR Intern from Misericordia University.

When not in class, Peter enjoys hiking in Francis Slocum State Park. His most memorable outdoor experience was rafting down the Colorado River last summer. “Looking up on the walls of The Grand Canyon is a breath taking experience,” said Peter.

Peter knows this isn’t the average internship for a Communications major. “I don’t know any other people in my program that going to be dealing with AMD, or even know what it is for that matter. My goal is to fix that,” said Peter. “I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty, both metaphorically and literally.”

Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director enthusiastically stated, “We’re glad to have Peter here for the Fall 2014, given his experience in writing, communications, social media applications, and connections with PR outlets that are existing from his work with Misericordia University. Peter is currently the President of the Public Relations Student Society of America and has created press releases, designed music, and directed Staff for Holiday Chic Peek, a large campus benefit that featured first season “Project Runway” winner Jay McCarroll. He’s even organized fundraisers and created advertising posters for events around campus.  His background in writing news stories and feature stories for The Highlander, as a Staff Writer will come in handy. His knowledge of Final Cut Express, Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress, and Radio BOSS, shows his familiarity with technical proficiencies in multiple software platforms.

“Just because Peter lacks knowledge on AMD doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t bring him on as an intern. He will learn plenty in a few short months that will surely open his eyes to the water pollution problems that we deal with here in Northeastern and NorthCentral PA. His hometown area of Wallingford is about 9 miles North of Philadelphia and Crum Creek, his local watershed is certainly not impacted by AMD. College students have this false impression that an organization like ours may only be looking for scientific interns with biology, chemistry, environmental science, and GIS Majors and that is furthest from the truth. We like students who have backgrounds in the arts, landscape architecture, geology, history, photography, videography, communications, public relations, and other Majors that can add to our already growing staff and multi-disciplines that we work in everyday.” Robert emphasized.

“Peter is going to be helping us play a little catch up in terms of completing our 2012 and 2013 Annual Reports, recapping highlights of projects and programs that we’ve completed throughout the years. He is also going to be writing several stories for us on our recent grant awards and projects that we are working on throughout the EPCAMR Region with our partners in the Coalition. Already, Peter has set EPCAMR up with our own Twitter and Instagram Social Media pages on his first day with EPCAMR and will soon be working on a Tumblr account for us. Now, all we have to do is start utilizing them and posting pics and twitter feeds to the sites to increase our publicity and awareness of our work out there in the digital media world and gain followers and potentially future volunteers,” Robert rejoiced. Welcome Peter!

Cait Dickson, Bloomsburg, PA Joins EPCAMR for the Fall as a Watershed Outreach Intern from Bloomsburg University

Cait Dickson is a Senior studying Biology at Bloomsburg University and will be graduating in the Spring of 2015. She is most interested in fresh water biology, and spent this last summer researching the relationships between water chemistry and gas emissions from small ponds in Ohio. After graduation, she hopes to find a position performing water quality tests in either the Great Lakes Region or along the Mid-Atlantic coast before moving on to complete her Master’s Degree.

Cait Dickson, EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Intern, sitting on a rock in a flooded stripping pit in the Jim Thorpe Area.

Cait Dickson, EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Intern, sitting on a rock in a flooded stripping pit in the Jim Thorpe Area.

When not in college, she enjoys hiking and backpacking. She has completed the Loyalsock Trail, as well as sections of the Appalachian Trail, and trails in the Catskills, and Adirondacks. Her favorite day hike is the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Cait helped EPCAMR out earlier in the Summer for a day prior to starting her official internship in the Fall 2014 at the Nockley’s Stream Restoration Project in Hanover Township, PA where we had to physically place several tons of R4 sized stone into areas of the tributary to Solomon Creek where rock energy dissipators were necessary to prevent further streambank erosion and sedimentation from occurring during storm events and heavy rainfalls.

Caitlyn Dickson, looking for some sunlight in the canopy at the Mocanaqua AMD Tunnel while EPCAMR was sampling for flow and chemistry.

Caitlyn Dickson, looking for some sunlight in the canopy at the Mocanaqua AMD Tunnel while EPCAMR was sampling for flow and chemistry.

Cait has already been water quality monitoring at the Espy Run AMD Treatment Wetlands on the Earth Conservancy property that EPCAMR monitors continuously and the Mocanaqua AMD Tunnel, that discharges from the historic West End Colliery, behind the Mocanaqua Borough Sewer Treatment Authority, in Mocanaqua.

Caitlyn Dickson, Elizabeth Rosser, and Gabby Zawacki out in Hazle Brook Creek removing beaver dams around several discharge locations.

Caitlyn Dickson, Elizabeth Rosser, and Gabby Zawacki out in Hazle Brook Creek removing beaver dams around several discharge locations.

 

Just last week, she was with EPCAMR’s other two Staff removing 4 beaver dams that were backing up AMD in the Hazle Creek watershed that drains to the Black Creek and then on to the Upper Lehigh River. She was up to her chest in waders removing several large beaver dams in order for EPCAMR and the Weatherly Borough Planning Commission, one of our partners in Carbon County to be able to continuously monitor the flow measurements of the discharges throughout the year. This is the second time we’ve been back to this location in the last several years.

Today, Cait is out with the other two Staff re-marking additional sections of the Sugar Notch Yellow Trail System on Earth Conservancy property in Sugar Notch, PA. “There is no doubt in my mind that over the course of the Fall, Cait will be exposed to many facets of the environment and ecology that surrounds mine drainage and our abandoned mine lands that are having a direct impact on the biology, ecology, and aquatic and wildlife populations within the Coalfields.” Seeing that she likes to hike and spend time outdoors, and the Summer and Fall being the busiest times of the year for the EPCAMR Staff, I’m sure that she’s going to enjoy her stay  with EPCAMR.” stated Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director.

“Cait is going to try and work with Bloomsburg University to see if they would test some of our AMD samples in their aqueous geochemistry labs to give us a better representative sample of the water quality parameters that we are measuring in the field with field test kits. Often times, we can’t afford to send water samples to the labs unless their is funding available to perform such tasks. AMD Hach Field Test Kits are the most commonly used testing kit in the field by the EPCAMR Staff. We are hoping that the Universities that we work with to sponsor interns will work with us and allow us to give the student interns an opportunity to apply their lab skills and use of the on-campus facilities to support our non-profit efforts in the Region, since they have the resources and equipment that we obviously can’t afford, unless they are grant funded.”  hoped Robert.

Welcome Cait! We’re sure that you will do just fine!

Alternative Energy Co-Generation Plants Donate a Combined $50K to Coalitions over the last 5 years

See the attached article on the regional groups that have been supported by ARIPPA, EPCAMR, and WPCAMR through donations over the last 5 years to support abandoned mine land reclamation, stream restoration, illegal dump site cleanups, mine drainage treatment system rehabilitation or repairs, and environmental education programs throughout PA’s Bituminous and Anthracite Regions. As ARIPPA celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary last week, EPCAMR and WPCAMR Representatives were present in Harrisburg to accept another donation of $5000 ($2500 to each Coalition) to support AMD and AML efforts in our respective regions.

Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director and Andy McAllister-WPCAMR Regional Coordinator accept the $5000 check from ARIPPA

Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director and Andy McAllister-WPCAMR Regional Coordinator accept the $5000 check from ARIPPA

http://arippa.org/documents/NEWS%20RELEASE%202014%208%20AML-AMD.pdf

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