Susquehanna River Basin Commission Receives $2 Million DEP Grant For Cleanup Of Mine Drainage Going Into Tioga River In Tioga County
In the next three to four years, clean water will once again flow from Blossburg to Mansfield, along the Tioga River in Tioga County, thanks in part to a $2 million grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC).
This project is funded by DEP’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program with federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund monies and is part of a $25 million grant award made to DEP last week. Read more here.
The grant will fund the design of a plant that will actively treat continuous mine discharges that have polluted the Tioga River for more than a century.
Once constructed near the town of Morris Run, the plant will actively treat three mine discharges that are currently degrading Morris Run and will vanquish the largest mine discharge in the Tioga River Watershed, the Coal Creek Discharge.
Treatment of these four discharges will not only restore the mainstem of the Tioga River, but will also restore the Tioga arm of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Tioga-Hammond Lake.
In 2015, the Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee coordinated and constructed mine drainage treatment systems with Southwestern Energy to improve the Fall Brook tributary to the Tioga River. These systems restored the section of the Tioga River to Morris Run just south of Blossburg Borough (the Tioga River runs south to north).
The future plant will restore the remaining 18 miles of the Tioga River from Blossburg to Tioga Lake.
According to Tom Clark, Mine Drainage Program Coordinator for SRBC, “Fish recolonization should occur quickly upon treatment due to the unimpaired quality of the Tioga River upstream of Morris Run, and the good quality tributaries that enter downstream of Blossburg.”
“We are extremely pleased with plans to move forward with reclamation efforts on the Morris Run and Coal Creek tributaries,” said Joyce Andrews, Secretary of TCCCC. “Restoration of these two tributaries, combined with the existing mine drainage treatment systems on Fall Brook, should restore water quality in the Tioga River and in Tioga Lake so that they once again support aquatic life.
Andrews added, “This will bring recreational fishing opportunities to the communities along the Tioga River corridor, such as Blossburg, Covington, and Mansfield, and will bring much needed tourist revenue to the area, supporting not only restaurants and hotels, but also sporting goods venues.”
TCCCC plans to contribute $128,000 toward this project using funds raised under the Save the Tioga River effort.
Design of the plant could take one year or longer, with construction taking about the same length of time.
For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website. Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter. Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.
Reclamation Fee Reauthorization
Unless Congress acts to reauthorize the per ton federal abandoned mine reclamation fee that funds projects like Ehrenfeld, states like Pennsylvania that have hundreds of thousands of acres of abandoned mine lands in need of reclamation will not be able to continue these efforts.
Visit the PA AML Campaign website for more information from the point of view of local and regional groups involved in abandoned mine reclamation in Pennsylvania.
Visit the Our Work’s Not Done website supported by states involved in the federal abandoned mine reclamation program.
(Photo: Morris Run discharge bubbling out of the ground.)
Related Articles This Week:
Related Articles - Federal Mine Reclamation Fee:
-- Op-Ed: Federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund Can Be Reauthorized - John Oliver & R. John Dawes
[Posted: Sept. 8, 2020]
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