The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it has awarded Hazleton Shaft Corporation a $9.3 million contract to isolate and extinguish the Jeanesville mine fire near the village of Tresckow in Banks Township, Carbon County.
Hazleton Shaft has an active permit with DEP to mine on land adjacent to the entire 200-acre site and has been working to extinguish the part of the fire that is burning on the active mining area.
“We are happy to be working with Hazleton Shaft Corporation on this phase of the mine fire project,” said Mike Korb, Environmental Program Manager of the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation in Wilkes-Barre. “The company, lowest of eight bidders, is familiar with the mine fire, and they and DEP’s Pottsville District Mine Office have implemented a work plan for the active mine area that will be worked in coordination with this abandoned mine project.”
The Jeanesville mine fire is burning on approximately 28 acres both on the surface and underground. Approximately 50 new and existing monitoring boreholes will be used to continue to gauge the scope and intensity of the fire.
Hazleton Shaft has also agreed to extinguish any underground burning material they may discover during the project.
During the work, residents may experience a sulfur-like odor. DEP is committed to completing the construction utilizing any methods available to minimize the smoke and odor, and conducting air quality monitoring on an as-needed basis. Previous air quality monitoring related to the fire indicated no dangerous levels of gases in the area.
“Our Air Quality staff is ready to respond if residents notice any lingering odors in their neighborhoods,” said Mike Bedrin, Director of the DEP Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “We want people to feel safe knowing the fire is being extinguished and the air they breathe is not hazardous.”
Residents who do experience any odors coming from the fire are encouraged to contact DEP’s Northeast Regional Office complaint line at 1-866-255-5158 ext. 2.
The work to extinguish the blaze involves digging two isolation trenches to contain the fire and stop it from spreading. The project will involve the excavation of approximately 2.6 million cubic yards of material to isolate the fire on the south side.
A water supply for the fire will be obtained by connecting to a line owned by the Hazleton City Authority and from a well to the mine pool which lies below the area.
As part of the project, approximately 200 acres will be cleared and grubbed. It is anticipated that the work will take two years to complete, and upon completion of the project, any disturbed areas will be seeded, cleaned up and the equipment removed from the site.The site will be stabilized and vegetated in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Office of Surface Mining. Firefighting foam will be used as needed. The overall length of the project could be up to two years.