Doser Project Aims To Clean Up Creek

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A new project being developed in southeastern Ohio aims to clean area rivers and streams.

The Thomas Fork Doser Project is located in Meigs County.
Lisa Prince, with the Leading Creek Watershed Group, says the project will actually "dose" the water of the Thomas Fork branch of the creek with limestone to counteract the effects of acid mine drainage.
"Acid mine drainage is a sulfuric acid.  It comes from mining when you expose a rock called pyrate, the water reacts with the sulfur compounds and creates sulfuric acid.  It's so harmful because it lowers the PH [level] of the water and then fish and other aquatic insects or vertebrates can't live in the streams then," said Prince.
Though there are a number of other dosers throughout the state of Ohio, the Thomas Fork project focuses mainly on Meigs County.  According to the Leading Creek Newsletter, the doser silo is located on Bailey Run Road, which is property owned by the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District.
The silo holds 35 tons of lime material, which is added to water as it flows out of the building and into a mixing channel.
Prince says acid mine drainage is problem that dates back many years in county's history.
"Most of the mines down in Meigs County are historic mines, they did not have any reclamation laws back then, but since then, we have put into laws that after mining companies must reclaim the land and put it back to near it's original state," said Prince.
Construction on the project began in September and the doser started administering the limestone at the beginning of the year. 
Prince says already, the group is seeing some improvement in the water quality.
"Well, you actually see it instantaneously, as soon as the limestone enters the water system, it increases the PH.  We just set it up in January and we were doing a monitoring and found a baby dragonfly right downstream of it, which is something we never saw there before.  So, it does, it does pretty quickly," said Prince.
Prince says the group's overall goes is to reduce drainage in the water by 100 percent, no easy feat for the tributary that is considered the one of the largest acidity and metal loaders in the watershed by the conservation group.
The Thomas Fork project is just the first of several reclamation goals for the watershed group.