Projects Started to Remediate Embattled Creek
Morgantown Dominion Post
28 June 2013
FRIENDS OF DECKERS CREEK
(FODC) is privileged to have a devoted community following.
Residents of Monongalia and Preston counties have shown support
through continued contributions to further the FODC’s goals.
Such support is greatly appreciated and illustrates the extent to
which citizens of the watershed care for the environmental
integrity of the land called home.
However, many people are unaware of all the activities in which
FODC is involved, such as construction of acid mine drainage (AMD)
treatment projects designed to improve water quality in Deckers
Creek and its tributaries.
The main contaminants in AMD are acidity, iron and aluminum, which
result from minerals and clays dissolving when exposed to water
The acidity and aluminum are toxic to aquatic life. The iron
destroys aquatic habitat. The iron precipitates (produced when
iron comes out of solution) range from yellow to orange to red in
color and are the most easily seen pollutant related to coal
Prior to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA),
water discharges from coal mining operations had no liable owner
and could discharge into local waterways without treatment. Since
SMCRA, mining operators are responsible for treating their water
What about the discharges from pre-law or abandoned mine lands
(AML)? Stated in Article 3 of the Clean Water Act, remediation
projects on these lands qualify for funding through the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department
of Environmental Protection.
In 2005, FODC developed a watershed-based plan to address
high-priority contamination sources in the watershed and to become
eligible for federal and state funding to plan, design and
construct AMD remediation projects. The plan identified 12
high-priority AMD sources, including the Richard Mine, the largest
source of AMD in the watershed. FODC started remediation projects
for four of these sources and is working on two more, all in the
FODC is moving to the construction phase of a new AMD remediation
project. Patriot Mining Co. has allowed FODC to use part of a
Patriot-owned AML to build several treatment measures. The project
will address AMD entering Kanes Creek, a Preston County tributary
to Deckers that is among the most heavily AMD-affected
Treatment measures will include a flushing limestone leach bed
followed by several settling ponds. A Preston County contractor
has been hired to complete construction, as FODC prefers to
involve local companies as much as possible.
The leach bed adds alkalinity to the AMD. Alkalinity results from
the dissolving of limestone and neutralizes acidity. By
neutralizing the acidity, water loses its ability to contain
dissolved metals. The metals then precipitate out to be collected
in the settling ponds. The resulting water is neutral with
decreased concentrations of dissolved metals. Since FODC began
installing AMD projects, we have seen positive results on water
Through support on the community, state and federal level, FODC
continues its mission of improving the natural qualities of the
Deckers Creek watershed after a century and a half of
environmental degradation. To be a part of this; visit http://deckerscreek.org and
click on the “Donate” button.
FRIENDS OF DECKERS CREEK is a nonprofit watershed group. its
column runs monthly. To contact the group, call 304-292-3970 or