Repairing The Land: Acid Mine Drainage Cleanup Efforts

By
Fred Kight

Dateline
Updated Fri, Nov 25, 2011 8:26 am

2012 should be a better year for the environment here in Southeast Ohio. For jobs, too.

 
That's because more money - lots more money - will be spent to clean up land and streams contaminated by abandoned coal mines.
 
Deep in the Wayne National Forest in Hocking County there is a stream that runs clear and looks healthy.
 
It is not. It's got a high concentration of acid.
 
This is acid mine drainage - water that's flowed through at least one old coal mine and of such poor quality that fish and other aquatic life can't survive in it.
 
Ben McCament is working to fix this problem and others like it in the region.
 
McCament is a manager with the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management.
 
"The budget (for this project) is about $400,000" he says. " The goal of the project is to reduce the acid coming out of the hollow."
 
Next year, Ohio is very likely getting more than $18 million in coal company taxes collected by the federal government for the abandoned coal mine program.
 
That's a significant increase and enough to do about 50 cleanup projects, like the Big Four Hollow project near Carbon Hill.
 
McCament says, "What we plan to do is similar projects to this one, as well as some active treatment in some areas, and a lot of reclamation."
 
McCament says the plan is to use limeston to filter out the acid to improve the water quality of this creek and on downstream.
 
Tomorrow, in part two -- the positive economic impact of the mine cleanup program.
 
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