Rehab work should keep Brady passive treatment system functional for 20-25 years
Rehabilitation work should keep a system that uses nature to clean acid mine drainage functional for 20 to 25 years, said Tim Danehy of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition.
“It's the most economically effective way to treat mine drainage,” he said.
The Jennings Passive Treatment System in Brady cost $125,000 to build in 1997, said Eric Best, state environmental education specialist, and it outlasted its expected 10-year design life, ceasing operation in 2012.
It was revamped this year at a cost of $90,000, funded by the coalition through state and federal grants and private funds.
Passive treatment systems take advantage of naturally occurring chemical and biological processes to treat acid mine drainage and do not require constant chemical input or monitoring.
The passive system consists of a vertical flow pond, where gravity pulls acid mine drainage through a mixture of crushed limestone and mushroom compost, Best said. This raises the pH level and neutralizes the acid in the mine water.
The drainage is then exposed to oxygen and a chemical reaction forces metals from the solution, which is captured in a wetland below the pond.
The vertical flow pond was drained, and the old crushed limestone and mushroom compost was dug out and replaced, said Miranda Crotsley, Jennings program coordinator.
Also, the pipes that bring the mine water into the treatment pond were replaced and reconfigured in the rehabilitation process.
Danehy said the passive treatment system has restored Big Run Stream, which was polluted for many years. Jennings has become a state park used to conduct research and develop passive mine treatment systems.
Seals on an inactive mine failed in the 1980s, sending acid drainage into Big Run, a tributary to Slippery Rock Creek, creating a zone with little or no vegetation.
The Jennings system requires relatively little maintenance, only quarterly checks, Danehy said.
There are 20 passive treatment systems on the Slippery Rock Creek watershed, Crotsley said.
“It's a widespread attempt at treating (mine drainage),” he said. “It's probably our largest pollution problem, and this system is making quite a difference on the Slippery Rock Creek watershed.”
The Jennings Environmental Education Center, in partnership with the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition and Stream Restoration Inc., celebrated the rehabilitation of the system with an open house and tour of the system on Monday.
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jackson housing plan goes under over flooding concerns
- Slippery Rock library gains money match to replace undersized home
- Evans City pays tribute to its veterans
- Zelienople prepares for 175th anniversary
- 2 votes separate GOP commissioner hopefuls
- Butler Township commissioners to consider new zoning regulations on gas well pads