| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

DEP tries to reassure anglers about Deer Creek

Related .pdfs
Can't view the attachment? Then download the latest version of the free, Adobe Acrobat reader here:

Get Adobe Reader

Daily Photo Galleries

Friday, April 5, 2013, 12:24 a.m.

The orange, iron-containing mine discharge that's draining into Deer Creek near Rich Hill Road in Harmar should not hurt the stocked trout stream, the state Department of Environmental Protection insists.

The water draining from two 8- to 10-inch pipes is part of a state abandoned mine reclamation project, said John Poister, spokesman for the department's Southwest Region.

“While the pH of the discharge is neutral and the iron content is relatively low … we will be monitoring it closely during this discharge,” he said. “This creek is already impaired because of other mine discharges.

“The discharge shouldn't cause more harm to the creek.”

Poister said the department's Bureau of Mining is in the process of lowering the mine pool in the abandoned Indiana Mine, which runs under Redland Brick.

If left unattended, mine pools can cause serious environmental problems, he said.

“The mine has been discharging at several locations within the brick company property and other discharges into the creek,” Poister said. “Our operation is designed to consolidate those discharges to the one location.”

Fisherman Luke Austin, 22, of Harmar recently posted video of the discharge on YouTube. He said he shot the footage on Monday while scouting for fishing spots prior to the April 13 start of trout season.

He fishes in the area every year and said the change in the scenery there is dramatic.

‘Like a bomb went off'

“It's like a bomb went off,” he said. “I understand what they're doing there, but don't they care what it looks like?”

Austin said his first thought was that the discharge was from Marcellus shale gas well drilling in the area, but Poister said that's not the case.

The equipment seen in the video is a lime hopper, which is used to treat acid mine drainage.

The discharge began sometime after the Fish & Boat Commission stocked the creek on March 1, said Don Stanko, vice president of the Tri-County Trout Club, which assists with the stocking.

“The two guys stocking in that area would have commented on it had they seen it,” he said.

The commission stocks the stream beginning near the former J.C. Penney catalog center off Route 910, not far from the discharge site.

A Fish & Boat Commission wildlife conservation officer plans to test the pH in the area, said Sgt. Larry Furlong, assistant regional supervisor of the Fish & Boat Commission Southwest Region.

“My officer went down (Thursday) and he walked the stream and found it, but he couldn't get to it to take a sample to see how it's affecting the water,” he said.

The officer will return later to take the sample.

The conservation officer tested the water near two other discharge sites and found that the levels should not negatively impact fish, Furlong said.

“It's going to look bad, but it's not going to affect anything,” he said, although he planned to consult with the commission's regional biologist.

As part of the mine reclamation project, the DEP hopes to install a passive treatment system that will ensure that the discharge into the creek is not acidic, Poister said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
  2. Giant Eagle Inc. appears to have settled ‘fuelperks!’ lawsuit
  3. Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
  4. Rossi: Brawl for ADs between Pitt and WVU
  5. Review: No improper contact between Pa. Supreme Court justices, lawyers
  6. Analysis: Misunderstood Chryst served Pitt well
  7. Steelers must be creative in providing snaps for linebackers
  8. Penguins’ Maatta tests positive for mumps; Bortuzzo, Greiss negative
  9. Uniontown man charged with raping 2 girls
  10. Veteran tight end Miller’s blocking skill crucial to success to Steelers running game
  11. Assistant at Duke eyes Pitt football job
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.