September 8, 2020
Gene G. Veno, Director
Governmental Affairs & Public Advocacy
Office: (717) 238-0423, ext. 1311

Grant to Fund Plant to Treat Continuous Mine Discharges

Harrisburg, Pa. – In the next three to four years, clean water will once again flow from Blossburg to Mansfield, PA, along the Tioga River in Tioga County, thanks in part to a $2 million grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC). The grant will fund the design of a plant that will actively treat continuous mine discharges that have polluted the Tioga River for more than a century.

Once constructed near the town of Morris Run, the plant will actively treat three mine discharges that are currently degrading Morris Run and will vanquish the largest mine discharge in the Tioga River Watershed, the Coal Creek Discharge. Treatment of these four discharges will not only restore the mainstem of the Tioga River, but will also restore the Tioga arm of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Tioga- Hammond Lake.

In 2015, the Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee (TCCCC) coordinated and constructed mine drainage treatment systems with Southwestern Energy to improve the Fall Brook tributary to the Tioga River. These systems restored the section of the Tioga River to Morris Run just south of Blossburg Borough (the Tioga River runs south to north). The future plant will restore the remaining 18 miles of the Tioga River from Blossburg to Tioga Lake.

According to Tom Clark, Mine Drainage Program Coordinator for SRBC, “Fish recolonization should occur quickly upon treatment due to the unimpaired quality of the Tioga River upstream of Morris Run, and the good quality tributaries thatenter downstream of Blossburg.”

“We are extremely pleased with plans to move forward with reclamation efforts on the Morris Run and Coal Creek tributaries,” said Joyce Andrews, Secretary of TCCCC.  “Restoration of these two tributaries, combined with the existing mine drainage treatment systems on Fall Brook, should restore water quality in the Tioga River and in Tioga Lake so that they once again support aquatic life.

Andrews added, “This will bring recreational fishing opportunities to the communities along the Tioga River corridor, such as Blossburg, Covington, and Mansfield, and will bring much needed tourist revenue to the area, supporting not only restaurants and hotels, but also sporting goods venues.” TCCCC plans to contribute $128,000 toward this project using funds raised under the Save the Tioga River effort.

Design of the plant could take one year or longer, with construction taking about the same length of time. This project is funded by PADEP’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program.