Paper No. 27
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
ABANDONED MINE DRAINAGE IMPACTS ON pH IN SHAMOKIN CREEK, PENNSYLVANIA
Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) water with a pH less than 5.0 is considered the most persistent water quality issue facing Pennsylvania. AMD is mostly limited to areas with a mining history in the northeastern and western parts of the state. AMD has degraded nearly 2500 miles of Pennsylvania streams. Shamokin Creek Watershed covers the “Southern Anthracite Field” in an area containing 24 different coal beds in Northumberland and Columbia Counties, central Pennsylvania. This geology supports the key ingredients for AMD problems to occur. The main objective was to compare current water quality with data collected from a United States Geological Survey (USGS) study in August 2001 to determine if stream conditions have improved or declined during the past 10 years. A macro-invertebrate survey found no species in the North Branch Shamokin Creek, confirming that it is affected by AMD producing acidic water that cannot support aquatic life. Five sampling stations along a one mile segment of the stream channel were sampled weekly for pH, conductivity, and temperature during a seven week study in fall 2010. Data show that water quality in the North Branch Shamokin Creek has slightly improved since data collected a decade ago. The USGS study indicated an average pH level of 3.2, while the 2010 study indicated an average pH level of 3.7.