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Schuylkill County legislators announce water quality grants

Published January 21. 2011 05:00PM

Senator David G. Argall (R-29), Representatives Neal Goodman (D-123), Jerry Knowles (R-124) and Mike Tobash (R-125) have announced three grants for Cass Township, Schuylkill Township and Pottsville for improvements for water quality and safety.

"In good times and bad, our prime duty as elected officials is to ensure the safety of our constituents. The grants for these three communities will go a long way to help clean up and improve local water quality, helping to finally complete projects started years ago," stated Argall.

The following grants are being awarded:

$132,035 - Cass Township: Implementation of Pine Knot AMD Watershed Study Priority Projects - West Branch Phase #2

$347,355 - Schuylkill Township: Bell Colliery Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Project, Phase 3

$300,000 - City of Pottsville: Sharp Mountain Phase VII Reclamation Project

"The coal mining industry helped build our area, but, unfortunately, it left behind many scars on our landscape," said Goodman. "This grant will help correct an unwanted legacy of our history and improve the environment."

A wooden flume installed by miners years ago prevented river water from entering the mine below the river, but the flume rotted away. Now, river water leaks into the mine complex and after being polluted, reemerges and flows into the waterway. About 8,000 gallons of polluted water leave the mine pool every minute.

"I congratulate the Schuylkill County Conservation District and Cass Township officials, who worked together to secure this funding and to carry out this project," Goodman said.

Knowles continued, "I recognize that these are difficult economic times. Since this is the third and final phase of the project, we needed to follow through with it. I am thankful for the private and public sector coming together to provide the financial backing to get this project completed in Schuylkill Township."

Schuylkill Township received the grant for their third and final phase of the Bell Colliery AMD Remediation Project. The grant, along with the Cass Township grant, came from the Department of Environmental Protection's programs to help reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources.

The City of Pottsville received funding to continue filling the remaining 28.25 acres affected by dangerous mining subsidence on Sharp Mountain. This has been a major safety hazard adjacent to several city neighborhoods.

"The community has put a great deal of work into this important mine reclamation project, and I am pleased to see their efforts are paying off," Tobash said. "This is certainly a worthwhile investment by the Commonwealth."

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