Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance SCRA

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Home Projects Site 15 Treatment Ponds

Site 15 Treatment Ponds

Site 15 Treatment Ponds

The Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance and the Northumberland County Conservation District have installed the fourth passive mine drainage treatment system in the Shamokin Creek watershed at Scarlift Site 15, completed summer of 2006. This site is very accessible just south of SR 61 on SR 901. Treatment began in September 2006. 

 

The mine water has a pH of approximately 4, dissolved oxygen concentration of approximately 2 mg/L, with high iron, aluminum and manganese concentrations. The flow rate is several hundred gallons per minute, and the metal loading is the 5th highest in the Shamokin Creek watershed.

 

The project is designed to add alkalinity and lower metal loadings. Due to space limitations, the system was not designed to treat all of the water from the discharge, but will remove most of the metal loading at normal flows. Expansion of the system is possible in the future. Most of the ponds incorporate spent mushroom compost (to provide reducing conditions, preventing subsurface iron oxidation) on top of limestone (to add alkalinity to the water). The final effluent has near neutral pH and almost no iron or aluminum in solution.

 

Funding by PA DEP Growing Greener. Design by Deitz and Gorley Consulting. Construction by Landis Construction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The overflows seen in this photo were dug out after the system was installed.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is it working?

 

Very well. The data below show that pH goes up, iron, aluminum, and manganese go way down, and alkalinity (ability to neutralize acid) goes way up. We are very successfully treating this major discharge of mine drainage to Shamokin Creek!

 

     

total mg/L

mg/L CaCO3

 

pH

T, C

Iron

Aluminum

Manganese

Calcium

Sulfate

Acidity

Alkalinity

11/6/2006 influent

4.1

11

29

12

4.7

33

410

138

6

11/6/2006 effluent standpipes

7.2

6

0.9

< 0.5

0.96

143

265

-152

332

                   

3/9/2007 influent

4.3

nd

29

8

4.4

nd

295

123

7

3/9/2007 effluent standpipes

8.5

nd

0.4

< 0.5

0.75

nd

181

nd

350

                   

6/29/2007 influent

4.2

12

27

9

4.5

30

395

132

1

6/29/2007 effluent standpipes

7.2

21

0.2

< 0.5

1.1

120

80

-341

480

What about the odor?

 

Local residents have complained about odors. It's a complicated issue, and the SCRA worked hard to understand and fix the odor problem.

  • SCRA worked to discover if the treatment ponds were the primary source of the odor. Other possibilities were a nearby fire in waste rock and raw sewage. SCRA asked the PA DEP's Air Quality folks for help and made several changes to control the odor.
  • The treatment system does produce hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) as a non-desirable but necessary by-product when it is functioning properly. SCRA worked with several partners, including the designer, to find an effective way to reduce this odor.
  • If you wish to complete a survey to help us learn more about the odors, click here to get a .pdf file that you can print, fill out (anonymously if you wish), and return by mail.
  • Work completed to change flowrates through the system on 7/13, 7/16, and 7/26/07 helped ameliorate the odor from the system. We continue to monitor smells coming from the system and try to keep them from becoming too bad.
  • Early August 2007 - flow was temporarily shut off to the parts of the system that can produce odors - no odors have emanated from the system recently. Overall water flow remains at near design flow.
  • Thanks for your patience while we work to solve the odor issues that have arisen while we clean up AMD from Shamokin Creek.


They facilitate the movement of water within the system and help control odor.