Questions Remain with Ten Mile Creek Testing

Washington PA Observer-Reporter
20 December 2015
Observer-Reporter Editorial

The report released last week by the state Department of Environmental Protection showing radiation levels within the normal range at Ten Mile Creek should be welcome news to the area and its residents.

There have been growing concerns about potential contamination of the creek for nearly two years since DEP took rudimentary samples at three locations showing elevated radiation levels.

DEP said those preliminary results used only “basic laboratory methodology” and more extensive testing was needed to determine if a problem existed. Those newer results, taken from water, vegetation, soil and aquatic life samples around the Clyde Mine treatment facility near Clarksville in June, showed the creek is not contaminated, which should put the public at ease.

Why the first round of testing in April 2014 indicated such high levels of radiation is worthy of concern. The initial results were so shocking it still raises alarming questions if there is some validity to those original tests.

Could the environment – or more importantly, what was done to it – have changed in the 15 months between the two tests? Or were the initial tests results simply erroneous?
We may never know the answer to that question, but it would be prudent for the DEP to continue to monitor the situation with periodic tests in the future.

Though the creek samples from June came back clean, there was still an issue with sludge found at the Clyde Mine’s treatment facility that did show higher levels of radiation. The DEP report states this sludge is not a threat to public health or environmental safety, but it will perform more tests and continue to monitor the situation.

The recent news is good for Ten Mile Creek, but DEP must remain vigilant to ensure the public’s safety.