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Fayette County Mine Reclamation Project Wins Federal Award

For the second straight year, a Pennsylvania mine reclamation project has been named the most outstanding in the eastern United States by the federal government.

The U.S. Department of the Interior awarded the Office of Surface Mining's 2007 Appalachian Regional Award to the Kalp and Melcroft mine drainage abatement project in Saltlick Township, Fayette County.

"This award is a tribute to the expertise and dedication of our abandoned mine reclamation staff and that of our partners in this important environmental work," said Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty.

DEP worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Mountain Watershed Association on the project.

"This project will lower the mine pools, collect and treat acid mine drainage and ultimately restore Indian Creek. And returning the Indian Creek watershed to environmental health means increased property values, a better quality of life and more economic opportunities through recreation and tourism,” said Secretary McGinty.

A cost/benefit analysis conducted by the USDA shows that each dollar spent reclaiming the Indian Creek Watershed generates $2.40 in economic benefit for the community. With a total project cost of $1.1 million—which includes support from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Environmental Restoration Program—that means an economic benefit of more than $2.6 million.

The Kalp and Melcroft project used directional drilling in the coal seam to tap into the mines. The mine pools were lowered and the mine discharges were collected and directed to areas where ponds and wetlands could filter contaminants naturally.

Lowering the two mine pools relieved pressure that was causing mine drainage to enter the basements of about a dozen homes in the Village of Melcroft and flow into yards and public roadways at a number of locations in the area.

This is the first time this technology has been used in a Pennsylvania abandoned mine lands reclamation project.

Since 2003, nearly $173 million has been invested to restore abandoned mine lands in Pennsylvania, reclaiming more than 5,900 acres in 34 counties. This funding includes $121.7 million from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund, coming from a fee placed on mining activity, and $51 million from the state, primarily through the Growing Greener and Growing Greener II programs.

For more information, visit DEP’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation webpage.


11/2/2007

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