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The Kolb discharge project has been
a long time in coming. Because it was one of the most visible problems in the
watershed, it became one of our top priorities. Situated in the headwaters of
Blacklegs Creek, the Kolb discharge has a flow exceeding 1,000 gallons per
minute and contributes over 20 tons of iron to the substrate of the stream
annually. In 1998, our organization received a small grant from the Western
Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR) to assist us with
publicizing our efforts and to begin treatment of the discharge. As we soon
found out, we were in for more than we bargained for!
Luckily, iron is the only pollutant coming from the
discharge that is an immediate threat to the watershed. Knowing this, we
realized that by adding aeration to the water, we would be able to drop out the
iron and drastically improve Blacklegs Creek for several miles. With the
assistance of the Indiana County Conservation District and WPCAMR, a plan was
devised to install several splash dams throughout the channel of the discharge.
This would be an inexpensive alternative to other treatment options. Lou Kopczyk
of the Conservation District designed a simple treatment system, which we
presented to WPCAMR for approval. Due to the limited amount of funding, we were
only able to complete one in a series of seven splash dams. Although it was
small, it was our first real clean-up project. Unfortunately, we were unable to
complete the project as originally designed due to permitting issues. We had the
right idea, but we needed another plan.
to come up with a new treatment option, we sought the services of Skelly
and Loy, Inc. After viewing the project area and discussing various
treatment options with our group, it was determined that a passive treatment
system that would add alkalinity and aeration to the mine water would be the
best method. Now all we needed was the funds to complete the project. For that,
we turned to the Pennsylvania
Growing Greener Program.
Skelly and Loy prepared our proposal in February 2000 and we received word by
June that a grant in the amount of $65,500 was headed our way! Following the
announcement, R&P Coal Company donated the necessary land, approximately 500
feet below the discharge, to design and build the treatment facility.
It Stands Now
With all of
the project components now in place, we are ready to move into the actual
project design and then construction. At this time, it is estimated that the
project design will be completed by December 2000 with construction slated for
early spring of 2001. The goal is to design and install the system as soon as
possible so that we can move on to other projects. You can follow the project in
pictures by viewing our project photo gallery!