Monday, May 13, 2024

DEP Awards $5.67 Million In Federal Funding To Support Local Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Mine Water Treatment, Subsidence Control Projects; Next Grant Applications Due June 3, Sept. 23

On May 13, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of $5,672,751 in federal funding to support eight local abandoned mine lands and mine drainage restoration projects as a part of the
Abandoned Mine Lands and Acid Mine Drainage Grant Program

The projects are located in Allegheny, Bedford, Butler, Elk, Northumberland and Westmoreland counties.

The next rounds of local abandoned mine reclamation grant applications are due on June 3 and September 23.  Read more here.

The awards are part of the $244.7 million announced by U.S. Department of the Interior as part of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act.  

“Legacy pollution continues to impact far too many communities in Pennsylvania,” said DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. “Restoring these abandoned mine lands will clean our streams, revitalize communities, and stimulate economic growth.” 

The grant program prioritizes serious human health and safety problems resulting from abandoned coal mines, treating AMD to continue restoration efforts started under the AMD Set-Aside Program, and focuses on the operation and maintenance needs or upgrades of AMD treatment systems to prevent restored stream loss and improve water quality for overall watershed restoration. 

Grant recipients will be reimbursed on project costs. 

The following projects will be awarded under the Abandoned Mine Land and Acid Mine Drainage Grant Program: 

-- Allegheny County

     -- Allegheny Land Trust - $2,707,361: Chalfant Run (PTS Construction) — The AMD construction project will include construction and project management of a passive AMD treatment system to restore Chalfant Run. 

-- Bedford County

     -- Broad Top Township -- $11,000: Defiance West (SXO-D17) — The AMD development project work includes reviewing historic mine maps to locate mine openings and potential associated mine entries to determine where a significant AMD flow bypasses the existing treatment system. Three months of sampling will be completed and treatment options will be developed.

     -- Broad Top Township -- $40,390: Langdondale (LRO-D13/15 PTS Rehab) —The AMD development and design project includes three consecutive months of water sampling to guide design options. Additional work includes the completion of a National Resource Conservation Service Chapter 105 permit and preparation of a grading plan. 

-- Butler County

     -- Stream Restoration Incorporated — $251,797: De Sale West (Phase I & II Rehab) — The AMD development and design project includes conducting water monitoring, design, and permitting necessary to complete the future rehabilitation and reconstruction of the aging De Sale Phase I and II passive treatment systems. 

-- Elk County

     -- Elk County Conservation District — $224,007: Dark Hollow — The AMD development and design project includes monitoring the BBWA3888 abandoned mine drainage treatment system to determine functionality, modifying the current collection system, and hiring a consultant to redesign the system based on monitoring data. Construction plans will be completed and necessary permits will be obtained, if applicable.

     -- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — $1,931,602: West Creek — The AMD construction work includes constructing two AMD passive treatment systems and neutralizing three coal refuse gob piles adjacent to the headwaters of West Creek in Saint Mary’s. 

-- Northumberland County

     -- Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance — $367,361: Big Mountain Road West — This AML development and design project will complete the engineering design and permitting required to remediate a 660,000 cubic yard coal refuse pile immediately south of the city of Shamokin. 

-- Westmoreland County

     -- Export Borough Historical Society, Inc. — $139,233: Export — This AML development and design project includes design engineering and permitting required to close a mine opening and mitigate a subsidence prone area in Export. 

Pennsylvania has a long history of coal and clay mining. As a result of this underground mining, millions of structures in Pennsylvania are located over old, abandoned underground coal and clay mines. 

That’s why DEP offers mine subsidence insurance for Pennsylvania homeowners that may have abandoned mines beneath their homes. 

Damage due to mine subsidence or mine water breakouts is usually not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. 

Residential Coverage of $150,000 through DEP costs just $41.25 a year. 

Since 1961, the Mine Subsidence Insurance program has paid out over $36 million in homeowner claims. 

Visit DEP Mine Subsidence Insurance Program webpage for more information.

The AML Program

DEP will receive $244 million from the IIJA this year for projects to clean up abandoned mine lands and protect Pennsylvania communities – removing waste piles, re-grading dangerous highwalls that can result in loose dirt, trees, and other hazards, treating abandoned mine drainage that affects streams and rivers, and preventing and treating mine subsidence underneath homes and businesses across the Commonwealth. 

Pennsylvania has the largest inventory of abandoned coal mines in the nation, with a roughly $5 billion need for reclamation and stream restoration. 

To date, Pennsylvania has rehabilitated more than 91,000 acres of abandoned coal mines, and with this federal funding, will be able to continue this vital work that protects the health and safety of our communities. 

Information is available on mine reclamation on DEP’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation webpage.

Grants Open

These grant programs are accepting applications for mine reclamation and watershed restoration projects--

-- May 31: Commonwealth Financing Authority Act 13 Restoration Grants

-- June 3-- DEP Local Abandoned Mine Reclamation Grants

-- June 21: DEP Growing Greener Plus Watershed Restoration Grants

-- June 21:  DEP/EPA Section 319 Watershed Restoration Grants

-- September 23-- DEP Local Abandoned Mine Reclamation Grants

For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Report Emergencies, Submit Environmental Complaints; Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter; sign up for DEP’s eNotice; visit DEP’s BlogLike DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.

(Photos: Before and after mine drainage treatment, Little Conemaugh River, Cambria County.)

[Posted: May 13, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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