DEP Testing Finds No Radiation in Ten Mile Creek
Washington PA Observer-Reporter
17 December 2015
By Mike Jones
The state Department of Environmental Protection released its
10-page report analyzing water, vegetation and soil samples taken
June 23 around the Clyde Mine treatment facility near Clarksville
after a local environmental group raised questions over the
radioactive levels in the creek.
“Ultimately, there were no surprises in the environmental samples
we took,” DEP Executive Deputy Secretary for Programs John
Stefanko said. “The radiological results were in line with
expected background radiation readings. The nonradiological
samples were consistent with what we regularly see in flooded
underground mines in this region.”
All water samples were below the EPA’s drinking water limit of 5
picocuries per liter for Radium 226 and Radium 228, according to
the report. The DEP also did not find any indication of
accumulated radiation in the sediment, plants or aquatic life.
“They appear to be consistent with expected naturally occurring
background values for similar media,” the report states. “The
non-radiological results are also consistent with similar
conditions associated with a flood mine in this area of
One sludge sample taken from the treatment facility found elevated
levels of Radium 228, but it was not high enough to raise public
health or environmental concerns, the DEP said. However, the DEP
said it will now collect and analyze more samples of the treatment
facility sludge. The DEP also found normal levels of bromide and
“(DEP) concluded that sample results of the raw and treated mine
water are consistent with typical mine drainage originating from a
flood Pittsburgh seam underground coal mine in southwestern
Pennsylvania,” the report states.
State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, said the report will hopefully
put nearby residents at ease and she applauded DEP for continuing
to test sludge from the treatment plant.
“No one is willing to let their guard down, but the results of
both investigations are good news for the region and its water
supplies,” Snyder said.
The DEP took three initial samples in April 2014 using “basic
laboratory methodology” that showed naturally occurring
radioactive materials above normal background levels. The more
comprehensive testing this June had a wider spectrum range to
detect radiation and other harmful minerals, the DEP said.
An independent organization, West Virginia Water Research
Institute, also tested samples during the same period and released
its finding in July that showed radioactive levels were barely
present and well below federal regulations for safe drinking
The Izaak Walton League’s local chapter has taken issue with when
the testing was performed by both groups. It claims the samples
might not indicate a problem because heavy rain during the time
caused the creek to swell. Ken Dufalla of the Izaak Walton League
could not be reached for comment on the report.
However, the DEP noted in its report that stream flow at a
measuring device five miles north of the sampling points was at
near normal levels the day the samples were taken.
The samples were taken both upstream and downstream from the Clyde
Mine treatment plant. They include North Fork and South Fork near
Clarksville, confluence, the area around the mine’s treatment
facility, an acid mine drainage runoff area, Pitt Gas Bridge,
county park, boat marina and the Tri-County Joint Municipal
Authority’s plant along the Monongahela River.
The entire report can be found on the DEP’s website at