Friends of Deckers Creek Proposes Water Treatment Plant to Prevent Acid Mine Drainage

18 June 2014
By Lauren Talotta, General Assignment Reporter -

Friends of Deckers Creek presented one of its solutions to keeping acid mine drainage out of the creek Tuesday evening, and more than a dozen area residents joined the conversation.
The Richard Mine dumps 292,000 lbs. of metals into Deckers Creek every year. That's the equivalent in weight to the Space Shuttle Endeavor, or 35 elephants.

On Tuesday night, Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) asked for community input in regard to one of its proposed solutions.

"I grew up in Brookhaven since 1952, so I've seen a lot of changes, and I've seen it really bad," said Suszann Haught, who said she and her husband have tolerated living amongst acid mine drainage in Decker's Creek long enough.

"There's been some improvement, but I'd like to see more because I think that whole area right through there, would be a great place for Morgantown to expand," said Haught.

"The Richard Mine discharges at a rate of 400 gallons per minute," said Timothy Denicola, the water remediation project manager for FODC.

Friends of Deckers Creek says it's still in the process of gathering data from a geotechnical study, but thinks a water treatment plant might be the answer.

"It's not a new concept, but for a nonprofit watershed group such as Friends of Deckers Creek to get such a large infrastructure-based project off the ground is something uncommon," said Denicola.

The cost? $3 million for engineering and construction, and up to $5 million annually for operation and maintenance.

"...Tanks and chambers to neutralize the acidity, precipitate the metals, remove the metals, and then discharge the water back into Deckers Creek. So basically, it's pumping, treating, and conveying the treated water back into the creek," said Denicola.

But many of those in attendance think the benefits outweigh the cost, with economic benefits, increased property value, to name a few.

Even if for Haugh, it means giving up the land that has been in her family for decades.

"I would be sad to give up the house that I grew up in, but if that's where it need to be to clean up the mine subsidence in this area, that's where it needs to be," said Haught.

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