Watershed group to hold field day at Lowber mine drainage treatment site | TribLIVE.com

Watershed group to hold field day at Lowber mine drainage treatment site

Joe Napsha
Tribune-Review file photo
The Lowber Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment facility allows orange iron oxide to settle out of mine drainage water before it flows into Sewickley Creek.

Those who want to walk around the Lowber Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment project in Lowber, Sewickley Township, now have an almost mile-long path to view the expansive treatment site that purifies water before entering Sewickley Creek.

“The trail not only adds yet another location for people to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife in Sewickley Township, but also expands our parks and recreation assets,” said Brian Merdian, Sewickley Township supervisor.

The Sewickley Creek Watershed Association, which maintains the abandoned mine treatment lagoons system along the Herminie-Lowber Road, recently opened the trail at the site where it will hold its third annual Family Field Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday .

The family field day features environmental and nature stations, information about the history of the site, water testing demonstrations, plant sampling methods, microbiology and kayak and water safety information.

A free lunch, water and snack will be available for visitors. Those who plan to attend are reminded not to wear sandals or flip flops.

The $1.3 million treatment system was built in 2006 to purify water that poured out of the abandoned mine and turned nearby Sewickley Creek into an orange-colored stream. The mine water goes through a passive treatment system, moving from pond to pond, dropping the orange iron oxide before it flows into the creek. Sewickley Creek flows into the Youghiogheny River at Gratztown, about 1.5 miles from the lagoons.

“More importantly, the facility has done wonders over the past years to turn an environmental hazard into an area that is thriving with wildlife and plants, all while purifying the water that flows from old mines,” Merdian said.

In a youtube link: Rob Cronauer, watershed specialist for the Westmoreland Conservation District, provides specific information about the abandoned mine drainage treatment system.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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