Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
A SUMMER STUDY OF THREE ACIDIC MINE DRAINAGES UTILIZING PASSIVE LIMESTONE TREATMENT SYSTEMS IN SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, PA
Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) is a very common issue in Pennsylvania, especially in the Pottsville (Schuylkill County) region. Tracy Airhole, Otto Primary, and Silver Creek are three AMD sites at which remediation systems have been installed to remove iron from the mine effluent. These sites do not have low pH, often a problem at AMD sites, but the systems do raise the pH slightly. All three have passive limestone treatment systems of different designs. Tracy Airhole discharge, west of Tremont, PA, is adjacent to SR 125 and flows into Good Spring Creek. Otto Primary discharge is located adjacent to SR 209 in Branchdale, PA and flows into Muddy Branch Creek. Silver Creek discharge is located in New Philadelphia adjacent to SR 209 on New Philadelphia Road and flows into Silver Creek. All the aforementioned creeks are part of the Northern Swatara Creek Watershed. Tracy Airhole and Otto Primary sites were sampled twice in June 2013, with the first trip occurring during a dry spell and the second trip nine days later following a period of increased rainfall. Silver Creek was sampled only once, on July 9. Samples collected at Tracy Airhole included one sample at the mine outflow, eleven samples throughout the treatment system, and two samples in Good Spring Creek, one above and one below where the treated water joins the creek. Samples collected at Otto Primary included one sample at the mine outflow, four samples throughout the treatment system, and two samples in Muddy Branch Creek, one above and one below the treated water/creek confluence. Samples collected at the Silver Creek mine discharge included one sample at the mine outflow, six samples throughout the treatment system, and two samples in Silver Creek, one above and one below where the treated water joins the creek. Sulfate concentrations remained constant within each system, and were highest (>560 mg/L) at Tracy Airhole during the dry spell. Treatment systems appeared to be effective, decreasing iron concentrations throughout all systems. Manganese concentrations at Tracy Airhole remained constant in the constructed part of the treatment system, and were slightly reduced in samples from the downstream wetland. The Otto Primary system did not remove dissolved manganese. Metal analyses are still pending for the Silver Creek samples.