Below are a list of tentative presentations in no particular order:
John Stefanko, PA DEP Deputy Secretary, Office of Abandoned Mine Operations KEYNOTE ADDRESS
Russ Stutzman and Jacob Hayson, “Drones: Environmental Monitoring and the Federal Rules for Their Use”
The presentation by Russ Stutzman and Jacob Hayson will be covering the ability to use remotely operated craft, or drones as they have come to be known, in the collection of environmental samples and data. The discussion will include the Federal rules and regulations governing the commercial use of drones in the national airspace.
Joe Schueck, Agri Drain Manufacturers, “Flow Distribution Box”
Passive mine drainage treatment systems are expensive to build. Flows going into the system that are in excess of what the system was designed to handle can overtax the system and lead to premature and devastating failure. A flow distribution box can prevent that failure by controlling the amount of mine drainage directed into the system. Flows going into multiple ponds can also be accurately distributed. Flow adjustments are simple and accurate.
Nora Sullivan, Ohio University Voinovich School, “Water Quality Monitoring – There’s an App for That”
The presentation will show how the ODK Collect smartphone app can streamline water quality data collection. Watershed groups, state and federal natural resource departments, and citizen volunteers collect water quality data in the field to justify environmental protections and funding, and perform community health assessments. Adapted and tested by the Ohio University Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs, this app can not only reduce the potential for data entry errors by transferring digitally recorded information directly to a database, but also reduces equipment needs by incorporating data recording, camera, and GPS functions in one device.
Tom Clark, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, “Susquehanna River Mine Drainage Data Portal – Phase II Improvements and Phase III Ideas”
It’s been two years since SRBC presented the Phase I version of the Susquehanna River Mine Drainage Portal. In those two years, SRBC has added more tools, more data coverages, and has some ideas for a Phase III version, which includes a smart phone app that will allow you to access this tremendous data resource when in the field.
Mike Korb, PA DEP, “Mine Reclamation and Monarch Butterfly Habitat”
Monarchs need milkweed as a breeding habitat. Loss of meadow and farm milkweed stands in eastern and Midwestern US due to no till farming, herbicides, “getting rid of weeds”, and genetically modified corn has caused a major decline in Monarch Butterflies. We have started what may become a major initiative to utilize mineland reclamation as replacements for some of these habitats, and this presentation will discuss this effort.
The Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW) is a team of specialist who provide FREE organizational and scientific technical assistance to PA-based watershed and conservation organizations. C-SAW is designed to increase your organization’s knowledge and capacity to implement projects that align with your mission. Watershed specific technical assistance, quality control, and mentoring is available. Learn more at http://c-saw.info.
Robert Hughes and/or Michael Hewitt of EPCAMR – “3D Modeling of Eastern Pennsylvania Anthracite Mine Pools”
The complex geologic setting and historical mining of the anthracite mines creates a challenge to calculate the volume of water stored within the underground mines. EPCAMR’s recent mapping effort has reasonably found that almost 9 billion gallons of mine water resides in storage in 10 mines in the Southern Field and approximately 435 billion gallons in all the Northern Field. This associated report attempts to build on previous investigations to locate and quantify large volumes of water existing in underground mine voids, known as Mine Pools, in the Southern and Northern Anthracite Coal Fields of Eastern Pennsylvania. The goal of this project was to produce 3D Modeling of Eastern Pennsylvania Anthracite Mine Pools in Earthvision to Improve Water Quality Restoration and AMD Treatment via Consumptive Use Mitigation Projects in the Susquehanna River Basin. When pairing treatment with the ability to control the amount of water coming out of the mines, large flushes of stormwater that would normally escape untreated could be retained, later treated and released in times of low water or drought conditions.
Eric Cavazza, PA Department of Environmental Protection, “Preparing for SMCRA Reauthorization in 2021”
Preliminary discussions and efforts have begun to reauthorize Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) to continue to provide funding for AML and AMD work across the country. Pennsylvania has been working with the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs (NAAMLP) and the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) to frame the issues and identify interested partners for the effort. A brief update of the efforts to date of these organizations and committees coupled with a brief presentation of the current state of SMCRA Title IV and the PA AML Program will be conducted followed by a question and answer session.
Matt Kierstead, Milestone Heritage Consulting, “A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Cultural Resources and Vermont’s Elizabeth Mine Superfund Cleanup.”
EPA’s attention to cultural resource management issues during the Elizabeth Mine cleanup resulted in a well-documented site history that fulfilled the desires of the community and the State of Vermont, and in some instances also positively informed aspects of cleanup design and construction. To satisfy the project’s public education requirement, EPA hired Milestone Heritage Consulting to create From Copperas to Cleanup: The History of Vermont’s Elizabeth Copper Mine, a popular history report presenting the story of 150 years of industrial activity and how EPA and its project partners documented and reclaimed its legacy on the landscape. The mine cleanup educational mitigation also includes a series of on-site interpretive panels for a mine history trail. Copies of From Copperas to Cleanup are available from Milestone Heritage Consulting at: www.milestoneheritage.com
Michelle Dunn, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, “Great American Cleanup of PA, International Coastal Cleanup of PA, Litter Free School Zone and Camera Loan Program”
This presentation will be an overview of Keep Pennsylvania’s mission, statewide accomplishments and core programs that are available to local governments, community organizations and residents of Pennsylvania who want to make their communities clean and beautiful.
Kelsey Biondo, Dave Svab, and Samantha Schafer, EPCAMR, “Processing Underground Mine Maps”
EPCAMR is scanning, cataloging, geo-referencing, and digitizing abandoned underground coal mining maps of Northeast and North Central Pennsylvania through a Mine Subsidence Insurance Program Grant instituted by PA DEP. This presentation will discuss the progress made, provide links to data, and discuss findings made by EPCAMR’s GIS team.
Bernie Hoffnar and Dave Mankameyer, “PA AML/AMD Reclamation History: A Grassroots Effort”
In the beginning no state AML funds were allocated to Western PA. All funds went to Anthracite Region in Eastern PA. DER Mineral Resource Deputate, Dick Belecki, would not consider AML projects in Western PA. SCS-RAMP (Soil Conservation Service – Rural Abandoned Mine Program) was available for AML projects but had limited funding. A group of four conservation districts worked to increase funding for RAMP and to push for state funding for AML projects in Western PA. The first RAMP project in the nation closed a mine opening and removed a concrete tipple at the Church of God site in Six Mile Run, Bedford County. This project changed resident’s attitudes in the Six Mile Run area. There was now more hope for the future of the area. WPCAMR was formed by a number of conservation districts and EPA was convinced to fund a staff position. DER funding for AML projects in Western PA began. Soon after, funding was provided for a staff person with EPCAMR in Eastern PA. And the rest is history.
Bob Hedin, Hedin Environmental, “Two Passive Treatment Systems that are Regional Community Assets”
Effective passive minewater treatment systems can be attractive to the public because they do not contain hazardous components, support wildlife, and communicate a resonating message of frugal ingenuity. This talk will focus on two passive treatment systems in Allegheny County that have become central components of popular public spaces: Allegheny Land Trust’s Wingfield Pines system and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Woodlands system. The presentation will be supported with photos and statistics regarding the public use of both systems.
Bill Reichert, Schuylkill Headwaters Association, and Beverly Braverman, Mountain Watershed Association, “Preserving the Future of Our Watersheds”
This panel will include presentations about the work non-profits do to restore watersheds in east and west PA—pitfalls and problems; planning for the future; paying for it; who should be implementing the work; who should commit to it; and why it is so difficult to follow our plans. Will Pennsylvania’s resurrected streams stay that way?
John Curley, et al., PA DEP, “Emergency Projects to Extinguish Coal Refuse Bank Fires in Northeast Pennsylvania”
This presentation will describe and discuss two Accelerated Response Projects that extinguished coal refuse bank fires in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. Highlighted will be the efforts to design, obtain permits and environmental clearances, and extinguish the fire in a fast manner to prevent these fires from getting larger. Also included will be the methods used and issues encountered to extinguish the fires. Gases, odors and smoke associated with the fires were a major concern to local residents. Local and state politicians, along with the media showed a high level of interest with both projects.
Emilie Rzotkiewicz, Allegheny Land Trust, “Wingfield Pines AMD: Connecting to the Community and Beyond”
Wingfield Pines Conservation Area hosts an award-winning passive AMD system. Learn about the variety of programs, events and partnerships in this presentation where we explain how Wingfield Pines has become a community meeting space, living laboratory, and canvas for creativity.
Kitty Vagley, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, “Reclamation at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden”
The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden has been addressing acid mine drainage in its valleys and ridgetops for four years. A large “daylighting” operation is paving the way for reforestation and future display gardens, a Woodlands pond was recently resuscitated by a passive treatment system and the first steps to clean the polluted headwaters of a stream and wetland area are just getting underway. Hear the story of the transformation of 460 acres of abandoned coal mining land into the region’s first outdoor comprehensive botanic garden.
Eric Null, Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, “Incorporating Data Logger and Biological Monitoring to Diagnose Stream Pollutants and Aid in Reclamation Efforts”
In 2011, CVC began using long-term data loggers to monitor pollution events in streams within the Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin. As part of the program, CVC collected macroinvertebrate samples from each logger site in the spring and fall of the year to begin assessing biological integrity of the monitored streams and attaining baseline data. Throughout the program, several unknown impacts were recorded using the data loggers and confirmed with macroinvertebrates. In 2014, CVC began to sample fish at logger monitoring locations to complete biological baseline data collection, confirm and diagnose stream pollutants and assess reclamation efforts. The comparison of the logger and biological data is allowing CVC to more accurately diagnose pollutants and pinpoint critical areas for reclamation efforts within the Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin, while building a chemical and biological baseline for the Basin.
Ryan A. McCampbell, Bloomsburg University, “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Acid Mine Drainage Recovery and its Implications for Potential Business Opportunities”
This study investigates the procedure for removing contaminants from rivers and streams that were left as a result of Acid Mine Drainage. The understanding of the process is used to investigate possible goods and services that may result from the process, and the marketability of the goods and services as potential sources of revenue. Taking into account the potential revenues sources, a business plan is created to describe how an entity in the “industry” of Acid Mine Drainage Recovery would operate. The business plan takes advantage of cost accounting techniques to better compare the costs incurred by the business against the potential revenues gained, resulting in cost-benefit analysis.
Because of the extent of AMD impacts in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth has become, by necessity, a leader in the development of passive treatment technology. People from around the world travel to Pennsylvania to learn about the successes we have collectively achieved, including the installation of over 300 passive treatment systems. In recent years, the capabilities of passive systems to treat highly acidic mine discharges with high concentrations of dissolved metals has been questioned. It is important to remember that with any treatment system, whether passive or active, proper design, suitable land characteristics, quality construction, proper maintenance and sufficient funding, are needed to provide a long-term, cost-effective approach for watershed restoration. This presentation will provide mini case studies that demonstrate, by example, that passive systems can and are effectively treating acidic, high-metal, discharges in Pennsylvania.
Terry Schmidt, Skelly & Loy, “Big Run Restoration: A Success Story”
In the late 1990’s, a watershed assessment was completed for Blacklegs Creek and its Big Run tributary, which was the first step to development of a restoration plan. Design and construction activities were initiated around 2000. A four phase approach was developed to address the significant acidic pollution contributors in the watershed. Phase 1 consisted of treating “Big Run #2,” aka. the Sporanza discharge. The water was piped about ½ mile under Blacklegs Creek and treated using an open limestone based system. Phase 2 consisted of treating “Big Run #7” also using a limestone based system. Phase 3 was the biggest challenge due to the discharge location, water quality, water flow, and available space. To combat these challenges, a mine seal constructed in a drainage tunnel that effectively raised the water head approximately 30 feet to a location where some space was available. Partial treatment was accomplished using limestone which required frequent mixing to prevent clogging. Phase 4 was constructed to address “Big Run #3” (emanating from a location without property owner coordination) as well as providing for seasonal and supplemental treatment of Big Run #7 and #8. Through numerous grants of all types and 15 years or so of hard work, bugs and fish returned to lower Big Run and Blacklegs Creek below the confluence.
Brad Schultz, OSMRE, “Effective Aerobic Wetland Design for Metals Polishing in Mine Water Treatment”
Incorporating the design features that were successful in the treatment capacity of the 1.2 acre wetland at the Flight 93 site for a typical flow = 775 gpm. The average percent removal was roughly 70% for iron and 50% for manganese within the wetland. This analysis allowed for a design foundation of the polishing aerobic wetland at the Clyde Mine Water Water Treatment Facility and the potential application at other mine water treatment locations where a relatively minor amount of polishing is needed to enhance iron and manganese removal for the final discharge.
Andrew Heath, Renew Growing Greener Coalition, “Finding the Green”
Andrew will overview the “Finding the Green” booklet (all registrants will get a copy) and update on what the Coalition is doing to plan for the future of environmental funding and the politics in Pennsylvania.
Gary Merritt, Northern Star Generation LLC, “Big Yellow Taxi?…”