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$30 Million Abandoned Mine Reclamation Pilot Program

In 2016 the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation launched a $30 million pilot program funded by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to reclaim 14 abandoned mine land (AML) sites that have strong potential for post-reclamation community and economic development in addition to health, safety, and environmental benefits.

BAMR is partnering with other state agencies, local governments, mining operators, community organizations, environmental groups, and business leaders to carry out these projects, located in 10 counties.

Press release: Governor Wolf Announces $30 Million for Abandoned Mine Reclamation Projects (July 15, 2016)

PROJECT LAUNCH VIDEOS

Ehrenfeld, Cambria County: The AML Pilot Program kicked off in August 2016 with its first project: reclamation of the 62-acre Rosebud Mining coal refuse pile in the Borough of Ehrenfeld.

Additional Projects that followed:

Carbondale, Lackawanna County: Powderly Underground Mine Fire

North Fayette and Collier Townships, Allegheny County: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Hazleton, Luzerne County: Hazleton Bike Trail/Eckley Miners Village/Hazel Creek

Cooks Run AML Pilot Project Media Event Video

Pioneer Tunnel AML Pilot Project Media Event Video

Lawrence Township, Clearfield County: Pine Grove North Waterline Project

OVERVIEW: AML PILOT PROGRAM (WEBINAR)

PROJECT LIST BY COUNTY

Allegheny

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to facilitate phase two of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden's project. Phase two will address a dangerous highwall on 50 additional acres of the property, mine subsidence and acid mine drainage. The first phase of the project covering approximately 100 acres of the site began in 2011 and is nearing completion. When finished, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden will be a world-class botanic garden, including 18 distinct gardens, five diverse woodland experiences, a visitor's center, an amphitheater for outdoor concerts and performances, a celebration center to accommodate large outdoor or indoor weddings and corporate events and serve as a center for botanic research.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Attraction of millions of visitors annually creating an economic engine for the region
  • Estimated addition of 1,200 new jobs and as much as $88 million in revenue within 10 years of operation
  • Serve as a national Gold Standard in reclamation
  • Restored public lands

Project Partners:

  • Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
  • Allegheny County
  • North Fayette Township
  • American Chestnut Foundation
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Allegheny County Airport Authority World Trade Center Business Park — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to reclaim more than 54 acres of abandoned mine land including two dangerous highwalls. Once reclaimed, the ACAA plans to develop the 195 acre "Pittsburgh International Airport World Trade Center." This proposed international trade center will include office space, research and development facilities, and a 400-room hotel/convention center immediately adjacent to the Pittsburgh International Airport. In addition, the Montour recreational bike and walking trail will be relocated and expanded to connect the proposed business park with existing airport facilities.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Generation of $250 million in private investment and creation of 7,000 direct and indirect permanent positions
  • Employ more than 1,200 construction workers
  • Provide over one million square feet of Class A office space
  • Provide 90,000 square feet for research and development
  • Construction of a 400-room hotel with convention space
  • Creation of up to six corporate airplane hangers that will allow corporate tenants to locate their headquarters in office space at the site

Project Partners:

  • Allegheny County Airport Authority
  • Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Armstrong

Spaces Corners South/Rayburn Township Waterline Extension Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to Rayburn Township Joint Municipal Authority to extend a waterline to 160 residences, 118 of which have wells or water supplies impacted by abandoned mine land runoff. The authority will combine the AML pilot project funding with PENNVEST grants and loans to complete the project. Without project funding for the waterline extension project, residents may relocate which would impact the local tax base and property values

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Provide potable water to 160 residences/businesses
  • Increase potential for industrial development due to a potable water supply
  • Increase potential for construction of new single family dwellings and small business development

Project Partners:

  • Rayburn Township Joint Municipal Authority
  • Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST)
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Cambria

Point Stadium Discharge Mine Drainage Treatment & Mine Pool Geothermal Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to help fund one of two options to treat or eliminate the Point Stadium Discharge that enters the Stonycreek just upstream of its confluence with the Little Conemaugh River near the Point Stadium in downtown Johnstown. One option would provide only for treatment of the discharge while the second option would use the treated water and/or the mine pool as an industrial water supply or as a geothermal energy source.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Potential to demonstrate geothermal energy capacity from underground mine pools
  • Potential to provide geothermal energy for various public facilities in Johnstown
  • Cost savings from entities utilizing the geothermal energy will be used to support a trust fund to pay for the continued operation and maintenance of the AMD treatment facility
  • Two miles of stream improvement
  • Treated AMD could potentially be used as an industrial water source

Project Partners:

  • Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
  • Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project (SCRIP)
  • Cambria County Conservation District
  • Pennsylvania Environmental Council
  • Lift Johnstown
  • Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund
  • Conemaugh Health Systems
  • eCap Network
  • City of Johnstown
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Ehrenfeld Coal Refuse Pile Reclamation Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to complete reclamation of the massive 3.2 million ton abandoned Ehrenfeld Coal Refuse Pile. The coal refuse material will be excavated, hauled away, blended with alkaline material, and disposed of in accordance with an approved handling and placement plan authorized within the mining permit for an adjacent surface mining site operated by the Rosebud Mining Company.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Eliminate severe on-site erosion and off-site sedimentation issues in the Little Conemaugh River Watershed
  • Eliminate a source of acid mine drainage runoff
  • Stabilize slope to prevent landslide issues
  • Prevent the burning of coal refuse material
  • Eliminate unauthorized recreational use by ATV drivers
  • Restore 62 acres of barren undevelopable land situated in Ehrenfeld Borough and Croyle Township
  • Provide sustained employment of 40 miners who would have been laid off due to slump in the coal market
  • Enhance recreational development through construction of a parking area to access the Johnstown Flood Memorial Rails to Trails
  • Possible site of future industrial development
  • Improve and restore water quality
  • Restore land by re-establishing the American Chestnut

Project Partners:

  • Forest Hills Regional Alliance
  • Rosebud Mining Company
  • Pristine Resources Inc.
  • Cambria County Conservation District
  • Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
  • Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
  • Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project
  • South Fork Borough
  • Ehrenfeld Borough
  • Croyle Township
  • American Chestnut Foundation
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Clearfield

Pine Grove North/Lawrence Township Waterline Extension Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to construct the first of a three-phase waterline extension project in cooperation with the Clearfield Municipal Authority to service approximately 153 homes and businesses in Lawrence Township. Phase 1 will service 96 of the 153 homes and businesses which currently have wells/water supplies that are impacted or degraded by former surface and underground coal mining operations. Without project funding for the waterline extension project, residents may relocate which would impact the local tax base and property values

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Provide potable water to 96 total residences and businesses
  • Increased potential for industrial development due to a potable water supply in this rural area
  • Increase potential for construction of new single family dwellings and small business development

Project Partners:

  • Clearfield Municipal Authority
  • Lawrence Township
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Clinton

Sproul State Forest/Fran Contracting Surface Mine Restoration Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to be used to fund the reclamation of the Camp Run No. 2 AML site in Sproul State Forest to restore water quality in the Rock and Camp Run tributaries of Cooks Run. The site will be reclaimed by excavating and removing or treating the acid forming materials on site by mixing them with alkaline material to neutralize acidity. The reclaimed site will be reforested to bring the land and water back to pre-mining conditions.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Improved/restored water quality in Camp Run, Rock Run, and Cooks Run
  • Restored public lands
  • Reforestation including reintroduction of hybrid American Chestnut Trees
  • Restoration of the land and water back to its pre-mining condition will allow for citizens that enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, ATV riding and sightseeing to utilize the area
  • Increased tourism to the area

Project Partners:

  • Allegheny Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Sproul State Forest
  • Kettle Creek Watershed Association
  • Trout Unlimited
  • East Keating & Noyes Townships
  • Western Clinton Sportsman's Club
  • Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
  • American Chestnut Foundation
  • Penn State University
  • Clarion University
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Lackawanna

Powderly Creek NE Underground Mine Fire and Economic Development Project –– The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to be used in combination with other funding to undertake a reclamation project to extinguish the Powderly Creek underground mine fire just outside the City of Carbondale. Additional AML features adjacent to the mine fire area will also be reclaimed in order to create conditions suitable for future industrial development. The total acreage of AML being reclaimed (including the mine fire area) is 108 acres.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Improved air quality for nearby residents due to extinguishment of the underground mine
  • Restoration of 108 acres of abandoned mine land back to pre-mining conditions
  • Potential for industrial/commercial development of the land following extinguishment of the mine fire and reclamation of adjacent AML features
  • The four-lane Robert P. Casey Memorial Highway (U.S. Route 6) runs from Interstate 81 near Scranton north past Carbondale adjacent to the project site

Project Partners:

  • Landowner
  • Carbondale City
  • Carbondale Enterprise Development Zone
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Luzerne

Eckley/Hazleton Rail Trail/Hazel Creek Cleanup –– The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to reclaim a 70-acre abandoned surface mine with 2,500 linear feet of dangerous highwall ranging in height from 40 to 50 feet by backfilling and grading with on-site spoil material, including construction of wetlands, and reconstructing 3,200 feet of stream. The project will facilitate an extension of the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails to connect with the Eckley Miner's Village and improve water quality in Hazel/Black Creeks.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Reclamation of 70 acres of abandoned mine land facilitating the extension of the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails to connect with the Eckley Miner's Village tourist site and to eventually connect with the larger Delaware Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail system
  • Improved/restored water quality in Hazel Creek and the Black Creek Watershed
  • Increased tourism to the area
  • Improved opportunities for fishing, hiking, and sightseeing

Project Partners:

  • Landowner
  • Greater Hazleton Partnership
  • Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce
  • Weatherly Borough
  • Wildlands Conservancy
  • Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Schuylkill

Tamaqua City Revitalization and Improvement Zone — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to remove legacy abandoned mile land piles in the area of Slum Creek, regrade about 19 acres to a riparian/ park setting, including grading for a future fork of the proposed Panther Valley rail-trail system. Thirteen acres of legacy crop falls will be backfilled using the material from the Slum Creek project. An existing haul road will be improved so that in later phases it can become a segment of the planned Tamaqua Bypass.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Reclamation of 32 acres of AML which will serve as a catalyst for the large scale economic development to follow in and around Tamaqua's existing City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) parcels
  • The new gateway feature (to be constructed in a later project phase) will serve as a future traffic bypass linking Routes 309 and 209 directly alleviating traffic congestion in downtown Tamaqua
  • Redirecting vehicular traffic to the bypass route will restore charm and character to the existing downtown, improve pedestrian and vehicular safety, improve local travel efficiency, and improve emergency response times in the local area
  • St. Luke's Miners Hospital is currently evaluating the feasibility of constructing a Cancer Treatment Campus within the Tamaqua Area Mine Reclamation/Economic Development project area, which will provide life-saving treatment for cancer patients in and around the Tamaqua area
  • Other community revitalization/development under consideration after the reclamation project and bypass construction are completed include meeting and conference space and geothermal infrastructure

Project Partners:

  • Landowners – Lehigh Anthracite/BET Associates
  • Tamaqua CRIZ Authority
  • Tamaqua Area Community Partnership
  • Tamaqua Industrial Development Enterprises
  • Tamaqua Borough
  • Schuylkill County
  • St. Luke's Hospital
  • Schuylkill Headwaters
  • Kaufman Engineering
  • Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Bowman's Shaft – Pioneer Tunnel Mine Headframe & Hoist Preservation Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to paint and erect a salvaged headframe and hoisting drum as exhibits at the Pioneer Tunnel tourist coal mine in Ashland Borough, Schuylkill County. The mining artifacts were recovered from the North Mahanoy Colliery, Park No. 1 Shaft. The shaft, which was located near several homes in Mahanoy Township, was backfilled in 2015. During the project, the headframe and hoist were carefully disassembled and preserved.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Increased tourism and preservation of Anthracite mining heritage
  • The Pioneer Tunnel provides employment opportunities for the people of the Anthracite Region, as well as being a regional tourist attraction
  • The tourist mine and museum are listed among the top 10 tourist attractions in Pennsylvania
  • Accommodation of about 30,000 guests each season (April 1 to October 31) with 30 percent of the guests being groups from elementary schools through college-level
  • The addition of the headframe will provide additional educational opportunities

Project Partners:

  • Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train
  • Ashland Community Enterprises
  • Schuylkill County
  • Ashland Borough
  • Pagnotti Enterprises
  • SDL Construction and Keystone Anthracite
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Washington

Black Dog Hollow/Fredericktown Coal Refuse Pile Reclamation Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to complete reclamation of the abandoned Fredericktown Coal Refuse Pile which is located within 500 feet of 60 homes. The 45-acre coal refuse pile, which is 90 feet high with steep, unstable slopes and severely eroded channels, will be regraded to create more stable slopes, compacted, and capped with clean alkaline fill to allow for successful revegetation and future development of the site.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Elimination of severe on-site erosion and off-site sedimentation issues in the Village of Fredericktown and the Monongahela River Watershed
  • Reduce acid mine drainage laden runoff
  • Stabilize slope and eliminate hazardous erosion gullies
  • Reduce unauthorized recreational use by ATV riders
  • Eliminate several hazardous facilities situated on the refuse pile
  • Restore 45 acres of barren undevelopable land situated in the Village of Fredericktown in East Bethlehem Township
  • Increase recreational development through construction of recreational and greenspace public park
  • Increased tourism
  • Possible future industrial development
  • Water quality improvement

Project Partners:

  • East Bethlehem Township
  • Landowner, Hobo Ventures, Inc.
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Multi-county

Carbon & Schuylkill

Tresckow/Beaver Brook Surface Mine Restoration Project — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to be used in combination with other funding sources to backfill several huge strip pits using mine spoil materials obtained on-site to facilitate future industrial/commercial development and allow for the construction of a dedicated access road to the McAdoo Industrial Park. The project will also relocate a Kline Township Municipal Authority water line to service 400 residential customers in the village of Tresckow.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Reclaim 298 acres of AML for possible commercial development
  • Allow for the expansion of the McAdoo Industrial Park that is home to several development sites that are also Keystone Opportunity Zones
  • Allow PennDot to consider construction of a dedicated highway from Rt. 309 to service the Industrial Park
  • Waterline replacement for Tresckow Village that will increase capacity to better serve the current industrial and residential customers and allow for new customers including future factories in the existing CanDo McAdoo industrial park
  • Potential for residential expansion in the Village of Tresckow

Project Partners:

  • Landowner
  • Community Area New Development Organization (CanDo)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
  • Banks Township
  • Kline Township Municipal Authority
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Luzerne & Schuylkill

Green Mountain Discharge/Audenreid Tunnel Discharge — The AML Pilot funding, in combination with other project funding, will be used to treat the mine water discharge from the Green Mountain Tunnel and to improve the treatment of water from the Audenreid Tunnel. The project will result in the delivery of finished potable water to the Hazleton City Authority that will increase the available safe yield of the area's water supply. Also, geothermal energy will be recovered from the raw water for cooling and heating the water treatment buildings.

Environmental & Economic Benefits:

  • Treatment of the Green Mountain Tunnel discharge
  • Improve treatment of the Audenreid Tunnel discharge
  • Deliver finished potable water to the Hazleton City Authority that will increase the available safe yield of the area's water supply
  • Facilitate the sustainable recovery of the upper Catawissa Creek Watershed while developing the water and energy assets to provide a source of revenue to fund the ongoing AMD treatment cost

Project Partners:

  • Community Area New Development Organization (CanDo)
  • Eastern Middle Anthracite Regional Recovery (EMARR)
  • Hazleton City Authority
  • Natural Lands Trust (NLT)
  • Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR)
  • Schuylkill/Columbia County Conservation Districts
  • Catawissa Creek Restoration Association
  • Butler Enterprises
  • DEP
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
  • Hazleton Environmental and Schumacher Engineering (will provide design and construction oversight)