Mars nonprofit receives $99K grant

February 19, 2013

A nonprofit company based in Mars has received a state grant to improve and expand a passive mine water treatment system at a surface mine site in Monongahela Township.

Stream Restoration Inc., which constructed a large passive treatment system about six years ago at an abandoned mine in Dunkard Township, received a $99,983 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to improve a passive treatment system at the former Greene County Coal Co.’s surface mine off Robena Road.

An existing passive treatment system is now in use at the site, said Timothy P. Danehy, Stream Restoration Inc. project manager.

A passive treatment system relies on natural processes to remove the pollutants from the water. The existing system at the site includes an anoxic limestone drain and a series of six settling ponds, Danehy said. Acidic water from the mine site passes through the drain and the limestone neutralizes the acidity, he said.

With the grant, Stream Restoration will upgrade several of the ponds, install a system to better collect water from the mine site and install a horizontal flow limestone bed, he said.

The system will neutralize the water’s acidity and remove manganese and other metals from the discharge, he said. The system will treat about 25 gallons of water a minute, water that eventually flows into Whiteley Creek.

Danehy said the company hopes to begin work on the project this summer.

The grant was among 106 awarded by DEP for projects to improve watersheds, stormwater runoff, acid mine drainage and for educational programs, among other environmental efforts.

This year, the Growing Greener program, which is funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, awarded $13,225,594 for 78 of the projects. Five additional projects were funded by a $1,185,588 Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Grant; and two were funded by $252,400 from the Acid Mine Drainage Set-aside program.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program, which was created through the federal Clean Water Act to help reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources, also is funding 21 of the projects, which total $4,062,368.

About six years ago, Stream Restoration constructed a passive treatment system at the Mathews Restoration Site on Taylortown Road. The system, funded by about $1.8 million in state and federal grants, treats mine water that discharges from the abandoned Maiden No. 1 Mine. Acidic water that flows from the mine at 300 to 800 gallons a minute had contributed significantly to poor water quality in Dunkard Creek.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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