Treatment Begins for Acid Water

Morgantown Dominion Post
22 April 2011

A $750,000 water treatment system was activated Thursday along Pell Road in Preston County, thanks to Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) money. The project aims to restore 21 miles of trout stream in Preston and Taylor counties.

Representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection and Save the Tygart Watershed Association gathered to kick off the project, which includes four water treatment dosers. The dosers will dump acid-neutralizing alkaline materials into Three Fork tributaries, impaired for decades by acid mine drainage from mining operations before 1977’s Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act (SMRCA).

SMRCA placed a fee on coal mined nationwide — 13.5 cents per ton on deep mining and 31.5 cents per ton on surface mining, according to DEP Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Treatment Chief Eric Coberly. The money goes to the AML fund to reclaim land and water resources.

The system includes treatment dosers on headwater streams of Three Fork Creek, which runs into the Tygart Valley River at Grafton. The four streams are South Fork of Birds Creek, North Fork of Birds Creek, Squires Creek and Raccoon Creek.

Save the Tygart President Leroy Stanley said the nonprofit has been working on the project for seven years. “It’s our mission to correct acid mine drainage and other pollutants in the Tygart Valley area — everything that flows into the Tygart.”

He said the project could not have happened without the assistance of former Gov. Joe Manchin. The 10-yearold organization has members in Preston, Taylor and Barbour counties.