Ten Mile Creek Testing Results Expected Next Month

Washington PA Observer-Reporter
22 July 2015
By Mike Jones, Greene County Bureau Chief

The results from testing performed last month by the state Department of Environmental Protection to determine the radioactive levels in Ten Mile Creek will be released in late August or early September, an agency official said Wednesday.

The state agency conducted testing at 13 separate sites on June 22 and 23 that collected nearly three-dozen samples of water, soil, foliage and aquatic life along the creek, DEP spokesman John Poister said.

Concerns were first raised last year about potential radiation around the discharge area of the abandoned Clyde Mine near Clarksville.

The DEP’s mining program took initial samples at three sites last year that showed elevated radiation levels, prompting the environmental agency’s mining bureau to discuss the results with its radiation detection team. The two teams within DEP then began working closely to formulate a plan to conduct more extensive testing along the creek and around the discharge area, Poister said.

 “It was much higher than we had seen,” Poister said of the radiation readings in the initial round of testing. “The mining people … are not used to dealing with that, so they sat down with radiation protection team, which took some time because they wanted to look at the whole area.”

The DEP said in a written statement other water samples will also be analyzed for “typical acid mine drainage and Marcellus shale indicators” using “accepted EPA approved methods” to determine if Radium 226 and 228 and uranium are present.

Poister said the DEP will review the data to determine if more sampling is needed and what, if any, further steps should be taken.

The most recent testing was performed both upstream and downstream from the Clyde Mine Treatment Facility that needed to be repaired in spring 2013, and the Tri-County Joint Municipal Water Authority plant near Fredericktown.

State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, said the testing “should provide key scientific markers as to the extent of any problem” involving Ten Mile Creek, which feeds into the Monongahela River and is a major water source for area residents.

 “Protecting Ten Mile Creek and the people who depend on it for water – as well as the stream’s aesthetic benefits – remain the overarching priority,” Snyder said in a written statement. “It’s difficult to be patient when the safety of water supplies is called into question. However, we need to get this right and deal with it in a responsible manner.”

Representatives from Izaak Walton League of Greene County, which brought the matter to the attention of the DEP last year, could not be reached for comment.