TIOGA RIVER AMD TREATMENT PLANT PROJECT – JANUARY 2024 UPDATE

As of November, 2023, Kleinfelder Inc. has begun the 90 percent package of the design for the proposed Tioga River AMD Treatment Plant. Basic information about the project design is as follows:

  •  The plant will be located on Bureau of Forestry Land in Hamilton Township off the Morris Run Road.
    • The appearance of this plant will be similar to a sewage treatment plant.
    • The plant will be fenced in.
    • Care is being taken to insure easy ingress and egress of the truck traffic associated with the plant.
    • Hydrated lime and some supplemental soda ash will be used to treat the AMD polluted water.
  • An extensive pipe network, approximately 11 miles, will be constructed. This network will be used to:
    • Collect the Coal Creek AMD discharge, three AMD discharges to Morris Run, and a portion of the Fall Brook South AMD discharge, and convey the polluted water to the Treatment Plant
      • The AMD pollution from the Fall Brook South discharge is so severe that it places excessive stress on the existing treatment system making it very difficult to maintain the desirable levels of pH and alkalinity required to support quality fish habitat. By piping a portion of the AMD polluted water to the new Tioga River AMD Treatment Plant, the existing system will be able to operate more efficiently and also serve as a back-up during times of high flow.
    • Carry treated water back to the Morris Run and Fall Brook tributaries, supporting these streams for fish habitat.
    • Without the mine discharge, Coal Creek is a seasonal stream and will be dry much of the year. However it will have good quality water when it does flow seasonally and during rain events.
    • Convey treated sludge from the Treatment Plant to injection wells, which are dry abandoned mine cavities, located on State Forestry Lands off the Big Pond Road.
  • Four pumping stations will be constructed to pump the water from the various discharges to the Treatment Plant and a fifth pumping station will be required to move the treated sludge to the injection well sites.
  • Construction of the project is scheduled to begin in 2024.
  • The target timeframe for the Plant to be on-line is 2026.
  • Redundancy is being proposed for all aspects of this project so when key components of the system are taken out of service for maintenance or other potential issues, the backup unit will take over.

 

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Tioga River AMD Treatment Plant

BONUS PROJECT:

Capturing the Coal Creek AMD discharge is a challenge due to steep, unstable terrain. (NOTE: Photographs of this discharge can be viewed on the Coal Creek Tributary submenu of the Watershed menu.) At the request of SRBC and BAMR, and with the help of Renee Carey, Executive Director  Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and their Board of Directors, NCPC was able to purchase the 200 plus acre property on which the Coal Creek discharge is located.  Key points associated with this acquisition:

 

  • The 200 plus acres will ultimately become part of the Tioga State Forest system.
    • Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy will ultimately be reimbursed for the costs to purchase this land.
  • In addition to facilitating the capture of the Coal Creek AMD polluted water, the pumping station required to convey the water to the Tioga River AMD Treatment Plant will also be located on the property
  • A survey of the property has been completed and property boundaries have been marked. The survey was paid for using a contribution from an anonymous donor and a contribution from the TCCCC/Hillside Watershed Committee.
  • Recreational walking/hiking trails will be established for public use.
  • The property is currently enrolled in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Hunter Access program.

TIOGA RIVER ABANDONED MINE DRAINAGE TREATMENT PLANT PROJECT – BACKGROUND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2022

TIOGA RIVER ABANDONED MINE DRAINAGE TREATMENT PLANT PROJECT

DESIGN CONTRACT AWARDED

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Abandoned mine discharges have polluted the Tioga River for more than a century. Now the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Commission), the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and the Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee (TCCCC) have a plan to stop it.

The Commission has awarded a nearly $1.5 million contract to Kleinfelder Inc. for the design of a mine discharge treatment plant to improve the quality of the Tioga River from Blossburg to Mansfield, PA.

Once constructed, the plant will actively treat five mine discharges. Three are currently degrading Morris Run, a tributary stream that flows into the Tioga River. Another is contaminating the nearby Fall Brook tributary. The collection and treatment system will also capture the largest mine discharge in the area – Coal Creek #5.

Treatment of these five discharges will not only restore the mainstem of the Tioga River, but will also restore parts of the Tioga-Hammond Lakes Recreation Area. Downstream water quality improvements and benefits are expected to flow across state lines as the Tioga River runs from Pennsylvania north into New York state.

For decades, the TCCCC has been involved in projects to clean-up waters affected by abandoned mine drainage pollution.

“Restoration of the Upper Tioga River Watershed will have significant positive environmental impacts for Tioga County, specifically the towns of Blossburg, Covington and Mansfield, as well as the Tioga Hammond Dam complex,” explained Joyce Andrews, Secretary of TCCCC. “Benefits include recreational fishing opportunities, improved wildlife habitat, value-added for properties bordering the river, and overall improved aesthetics of the Tioga River corridor.”

Abandoned mine discharges are a leading source of stream impairment in Pennsylvania with more than 5,500 miles of waterways affected statewide.

This project is funded in part by PADEP’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program. TCCCC plans to contribute funding raised under their “Save the River” effort.