Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 34-27
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


BARRETT, Lauren1, HALLEN, Christopher P.2 and VENN, Cynthia1, (1)Environmental, Geographical and Geological Sciences, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, 400 E. Second St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815, (2)Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, 400 E. 2nd Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) is an environmental issue of key concern in Pennsylvania. Schuylkill County, known for its abundance of anthracite coal, has a number of AMD sites causing low pH and high metal concentrations in streams. We analyzed four specific sites in Schuylkill County with AMD passive treatment systems installed to mitigate the effects of the acidic drainage: Tracy Airhole, Mary D Borehole, Bell Colliery, and Oneida #3. Each site is within the Northern Swatara Watershed, and each site has its individual AMD problems requiring different treatment system design. Tracy Airhole AMD flows into Good Spring Creek. Mary D Borehole and Bell Colliery treatment system discharges flow into the Schuylkill River. The Silver Creek treatment system discharge flows into Silver Creek. Our goal was to determine the water quality at these sites and assess the effectiveness of each treatment system.

Each system was sampled once in the summer of 2017. In situ measurements using a YSI exo2 Sonde included pH, turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Bulk samples were stored in 4-liter acid-washed bottles in ice for transport back to the laboratory. Tripicate analyses of acidity and alkalinity were performed on filtered samples using Hach Methods 8203 and 8201/8202, respectively. Triplicate analyses of metals were performed on acidified samples (both filtered and unfiltered) using inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy. Simple cations and anions were determined in triplicate by ion chromatography. All four treatment systems raised the pH, as designed. At Tracy Airhole, iron levels were reduced, whereas manganese levels were not. At Bell Colliery, both iron and manganese levels were reduced, whereas aluminum levels were not. Mary D Borehole and Oneida #3 treatment systems were both functioning as designed, with iron, manganese and aluminum levels all reduced at Mary D Borehole, and aluminum reduced at Oneida #3.