The Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation Wednesday announced work is set to begin next month to reclaim abandoned mine lands in Hazle Township, Luzerne County that are classified as a significant health and safety hazard under the federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program.
The 65.5 acres of abandoned strip mine land is considered hazardous due to its proximity to homes and heavily travelled Route 309.
The work involves eliminating a 1500-foot high-wall, with a high point of 100-feet. The wall is located approximately 350-feet from homes. It will also include removing 820,000-cubic yards of material, mostly coal refuse, from the Penny’s Bank and Lattimer Basin Mine areas near the Hazleton Airport and filling in an old stripping pit.
The mining operations of the Pardee Brothers Company that created the dangerous stripping pit date back to 1929.
Once the project is complete, approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of on-site and adjacent coal refuse material will be reclaimed and revegetated. Also, runoff from the site will be contained entirely in the backfilled pit.
Two existing culverts will also continue to drain off-site runoff into the reclaimed pit. The pit will contain a low area where rock from the site will act as a sump to drain the runoff into the mine pool.
“This project will not only reclaim mine land that can be reused for recreational or development purposes, but it also helps eliminate what has been a constant reminder of the impacts left behind by the early years of coal mining,” said BAMR program manager Mike Korb.
DEP has awarded James T. O’Hara Excavating of Moscow, Lackawanna County, a $4 million contract to complete the project, with work set to begin in June.
The project is being funded by Pennsylvania’s federal abandoned mine land grant, which is subsidized by the coal industry via fees paid on each ton of coal mined.
In 2015 Pennsylvania received $44 million from the federal program to support DEP’s abandoned mine land and acid mine drainage reclamation programs.For more information, call 570-826-2511.