Monday, August 29, 2022

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition Partners With Westminster College H.S. Science Camp; Completes Blacks Creek Maintenance Pond

These articles first appeared in the
August Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition--  

Westminster College H.S. Science Camp

On July 7th, Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition participant Cliff Denholm provided assistance to Westminster College’s High School Science Camp program [in Lawrence County].

The summer camp program led by Westminster College professors Dr. Helen Boylan and Dr. Patrick Krantz was a week-long event that included a variety of field trips and experiential learning activities. 

The camp came to the Jennings Environmental Education Center to learn about acid mine drainage and passive treatment systems.

Cliff provided a tour of the treatment system and included an overview of the Slippery Rock Watershed, coal mining, formation of acid mine drainage, and treatment options. During the tour he discussed the individual treatment components of the passive system and some of the biogeochemical processes of how the system worked. 

The students then had the opportunity to conduct water monitoring of the system utilizing field kits to assess how the system was performing and see firsthand how the water quality changed from low pH water with no alkalinity and high amounts of iron to a neutral pH with alkalinity and very little iron as the water flowed through the system. 

The student also collected and identified macroinvertebrates from one of the wetlands which further indicated the success of the system. 

What a great way to spend the day! 

Blacks Creek Maintenance Pond

In May, a sludge pond was constructed uphill of the BC16 [passive mine drainage treatment] system in the Blacks Creek subwatershed of Slippery Rock Creek.  [The system treats acid mine drainage flowing from an abandoned oil and gas well.]

The pond was strategically built to be able to be used for maintenance of the BC16, BC19/19B, and McIntire systems as well as potentially other future projects in the area. 

The project was funded by an EPA 319 Nonpoint Source grant. The pond was designed by BioMost, Inc and constructed by Solid Rock Excavating

Once the pond was built, maintenance was conducted at the BC19/19B System, which was originally constructed in 2004. Excess vegetation and debris were removed and sludge was pumped to the pond. 

This maintenance will ensure the system continues to succeed in treating impacted water, and the new pond will play a critical role. 

For more information on programs, projects, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up to sign up for regular updates.

The Butler County-based Coalition was established in 1994 to restore land, water and wildlife resources in the Slippery Rock Watershed.

(Photos: Westminster College H.S. Science Camp; Blacks Creek maintenance pond.)

(Reprinted from the August Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed CoalitionClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Article:

-- 180+ Attended 2022 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference; MayFly Award Winners Recognized

[Posted: August 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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