HARRISBURG The Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $7,983,107 for remediation projects at and near abandoned mine sites, including ones in Blythe and East Norwegian townships, Schuylkill County. Others are in Luzerne, Clearfield and Somerset counties.
"These projects will make one neighborhood safer from mine subsidence, provide water to another, and reclaim hundreds of acres of land that was mined and abandoned decades ago," DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko said.
Remediation work at sites in Luzerne, Schuylkill and Somerset counties will restore vegetation to a total of 233 acres after contractors regrade more than 2.6 million cubic yards to eliminate dangerously steep highwalls and fill in surface mining pits. Work at the sites will also include excavating more than 31,000 cubic yards and installing more than 23,000 square yards of rock lining to control water runoff.
Berner Construction Inc., of Gap, Lancaster County, has been awarded $3,739,607 to reclaim 170 acres of strip mine land at the St. Clair East North Port Carbon mine site. Dangerously steep highwalls and piles of discarded coal waste more than 100-feet high remain at the site. A mine opening will be filled in; four acres of impacted wetlands will be restored; and a total of 2,171,300 cubic yards of soil will be regraded. Work is expected to begin in June 2012 and be complete by June 2015. Earthmovers Unlimited Inc., of Kylertown, Clearfield County, has been awarded $897,416 to reclaim the Alden Mountain East mine site in Newport Township, Luzerne County. Abandoned in 1962, the 39-acre site is riddled with 29 mine openings that will be filled. Six other openings will have gates installed to allow bats to enter and exit. A total of 322,000 cubic yards of soil will be used to regrade highwalls and pits left from strip-mining activity. Eighty homes in rural Clearfield County will have a safe and reliable water supply when they are connected to an extension of a municipal waterline. Their private water wells were contaminated by mine sites abandoned in the mid-1970s. Also in Clearfield County, abandoned mine tunnels beneath 111 homes in Houtzdale Borough will be stabilized to significantly reduce the risk of collapse, which could cause the ground to subside and possibly damage homes and create safety hazards.
The Covington-Karthaus-Girard Area Authority of Clearfield County has been awarded $340,000 for a water main extension to serve 80 homes in Girard and Goshen townships and the villages of Croft and Surveyor. The water supplies used by 16 of these homes were contaminated by abandoned coal mines in the area, and high iron and sulfate levels were found in the water supplies. The grant covers the cost of installing the water main to serve those 16 homes. The authority will pay for the additional costs to design and construct the overall project and connect the remaining homes, whose water supplies were not determined to have been impacted by abandoned mine lands but are in need of a reliable water supply. Enviro Drill Inc., of Bridgeville, Allegheny County, has been awarded $2,578,729 for a mine subsidence prevention project in Houtzdale Borough, Clearfield County. Approximately 130 homes sit atop coal seams and abandoned mine tunnels, ranging between 15- and 20-feet wide. Enviro Drill will drill and install four- and six-inch casing into the ground to fill the voids in the tunnels with cement grout to prevent collapse. At the time of this release, 111 homes have signed easements allowing Enviro Drill to stabilize their property.
The water main extension project in Clearfield County is being funded by Growing Greener II, which was funded by a voter-approved bond issue.
New Enterpirse Stone and Lime Company of New Enterprise, Bedford County, has been awarded $427,355 to reclaim the Kimberly Run East site in Somerset Township, Somerset County. Vegetation will be restored to 23 acres, after 230,000 cubic yards of soil are regraded and 1,560 feet of subsurface drains are installed to manage water runoff. The work is already under way and is expected to be completed by the end of November.
All other contracts were awarded on a competitive basis and are being funded by a grant from the federal Office of Surface Mining. The federal fund is supported by a tax on the modern coal industry and is distributed to states as annual grants to reclaim mine sites that were abandoned before passage of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.