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Residents concerned over Tamaqua river turning bright orange

Local residents are alarmed over discolored, bright orange water, contaminating the Little Schuylkill River at Tamaqua.

The problem developed late last week, according to local residents, who noticed that the Panther Creek had turned completely orange.

Residents living nearby say it’s normal for the creek to turn orange with acid mine drainage after heavy rains or when heavy snow pack melts, but the problem isn’t as severe as what’s been taking place over the past several days.

The waterway runs along Route 209, parallel to the highway at the former Jamesway Plaza and continuing several blocks. It then crosses beneath East Broad Street at the Tamaqua Municipal Building, then beneath Greenwood Street and eventually empties into the Little Schuylkill River near Cedar Street.

Conservationists and others worry about environmental impact of the contamination.

The Little Schuylkill River is routinely stocked for fishing season and some are wondering how fish can survive in that section of river.

Those living along the waterway said they contacted the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission and the agencies are expected to investigate.

The confluence of the Little Schuylkill River and Panther Creek near Cedar Creek in Tamaqua, shown late Friday, illustrates how bright orange water from the creek, possibly acid mine drainage, is contaminating the Little Schuylkill River, a waterway routinely stocked with fish and a popular fishing destination. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS