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sulfur than is usual. She said agents came out and took care of the
The latest project does not address treatment of pollutants in the
water that eventually flows under Route 136 and railroad tracks and into
the Monongahela River. Flows coming from the mine are bright orange
because of a high sulfur content in the water.
Jerry Richardson, whose property neighbors the stream, said, “It would
be good if they could clean it up.” A lifelong resident of the area,
Richardson said his home on Sunnyside Hollow Road used to have well
water, but he had to give it up about 18 years ago when the state
determined that the well was contaminated by mining.
Across the road from his house there is a trickle of mine drainage
water that flows toward Route 136. Richardson said the flow used to be
Balogh said the scope of the project does not address pollution in the
water flowing from the mine but he said it will not create a spike in
the amount of pollutants that reach the river, because the flow coming
out of the mine drains will be controlled by gate valves.
“It will be put at a rate the river can handle,” said Balogh, noting
the mine drainage already is going
into the river. “It’s not an environmental risk.” “No, it’s not good for
the river but if we do it at (a safe) rate its not going to be harm ful
either,” he said, adding that if a blowout occurred it would have a
harmful environmental impact on the river.
The cost of treating the drainage to remove pollutants “would be
phenomenal,” Balogh said. “Our funding is too limited to allow us to do
that.” Three mine drains are installed into closed mine portals on the
hillside above Route 136 that eventually drain into the river using a
series of drains, drop inlets, channels and buried pipes along the road
that also serve as a storm water run-off system for the area.
The OSM plans to inspect, clean and, if necessary, replace the
above-ground drainage system leading to the river first. Once it’s been
determined that system can handle an increased flow from the mine, work
to clear the drains leading from the mines will begin. An estimated cost
on the project is not yet available. “It’s something that needs to be
Township Supervisor Dave Magiske said. Magiske noted
that the township has gotten complaints
about water from the mines. Last year, he said, the
township had to treat pools of the water because they were
becoming a breeding area for mosquitoes.
He said the drainage problems aren’t new. He said the area has had
water back-up problems for 30 or 40 years.
OSM expects to begin work on the project within the next 30 days.