From the colonial iron industry of the mid-1700s to the steel industry of the 1800s and electricity generation of today, coal mining has been the primary fuel source of our modern world.
Once coal from one site was depleted, operators would simply move to the next one. Nearly a quarter of a million mine lands were abandoned in Pennsylvania leaving environmental and safety hazards behind. Until 1977, there were no state or federal requirements to fix these hazards left by depleted or abandoned coal mining activities.
More than 5,500 miles of waterways in PA are affected by abandoned mine drainage (AMD) — polluted water that flows out of abandoned mines and often laden with acid and/or dissolved metals including iron and aluminum.
SRBC's Mine Drainage program involves assessment and planning initiatives that lead to design and construction of AMD treatment systems and abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation projects throughout the basin.
SRBC's Mine Drainage Portal provides data compiled as part of the Commission's efforts to assess impacts to water quality from mine drainage in the basin.
Within the Portal, you will find chemical data for parameters typically associated with mine drainage impacts within the rivers and streams in the river basin.
Five large deep mine discharges in the smaller Northern Bituminous Coalfield near the town of Blossburg, PA, in Tioga County are rendering the Tioga River lifeless.
A mine discharge treatment plant to improve the quality of the Tioga River from Blossburg to Mansfield, PA, is underway under a SRBC partnership with the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee, and Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The project will correct this impairment, restore over 20 miles of streams, and improve the water quality of Tioga Lake. Once constructed, the plant will treat on average just over 5 million gallons per day of polluted water.Visit the Tioga River AMD Treatment Plant Project story map for a tour of the study area and how the treatment plant will raise the pH of the drainage water to precipitate dissolved metals for capture and disposal.