The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it has presented a National Association of State Land Reclamationists award for mine land reclamation to Amerikohl Aggregates for their work to remediate and reclaim land at their McMillen Limestone Quarry in Vanport, Beaver County.
“Amerikohl has been a leader in conducting remediation efforts on lands while still continuing mining operations,” said DEP Executive Deputy Secretary John Stefanko, who presented the award. “Their efforts to reclaim and minimize the impacts of mining on the neighboring community are all top-notch.”
DEP nominated Amerikohl for the award, citing the company’s work to reclaim land mined for limestone contemporaneously with mining operations. This work has resulted in land that is back in agricultural production within a year of being mined.
The Vanport Limestone is the principal mineral being mined, but some coal is also encountered and extracted incidental to the limestone recovery. The limestone is about 20’ thick and is mined under cover ranging from 20 to 120 feet.
The mining is accomplished using a block strip method which allows reclamation to be performed on a contemporaneous basis as the mining operation advances through the reserve.
One of the operator’s goals from the initiation of this operation has been to accomplish as contemporaneous reclamation as practicable. This was achieved and exemplified by the fact that hay crops were harvested the last 2 years on areas reclaimed over the previous 3 years.
Reclamation, including planting, began in 2013 and has progressed every year since.
Secondary to the goal of maintaining contemporaneous reclamation is to keep the active footprint of the operation to a minimal configuration that will allow them to mine efficiently, meet production goals, minimize their presence in the neighborhood, and, to the extent possible, make that presence as compatible as possible with the ongoing life of the surrounding community.
This spring the operator built an outbound truck wheel washer to address a recurring problem of trucks tracking fine limestone dust from the site onto local streets where it would be dispersed into the atmosphere and eventually settle out on houses and cars. The wheel washing efforts have proven successful in minimizing off-site impacts.
Click Here for a complete list of 2016 NASLR Reclamation Award winners.