The Division of Mineral Resources Management (DMRM) AMD program is evaluating the degree and impact of AMD on streams and rivers in the coal bearing region of Ohio. The ultimate goal of this undertaking is to better understand the extent of the AMD problem in Ohio, develop restoration plans (AMDATs) where applicable, and to implement AMD remediation or treatment projects where streams or rivers can be expected to improve to meet state biological water quality standards.
The process will be a four-phased approach. Phase I will determine if AMD is present. Phase II will determine the degree and extent of impact on water quality and on the aquatic biology (fish and macroinvertebrates) in streams that have AMD present. Phase III consists of developing a priority-ranking scheme and schedule for AMDAT development for watersheds impaired by AMD. The fourth and final phase is to develop AMDAT plans for priority watersheds determined in Phase III.
As of January 2010 a list of ninety-four (94) 12 digit HUC watersheds have been compiled to perform primary AMD assessments on. These are subject to change in light of new data or changing conditions. A map and list of the watersheds to be included in the assessment are provided. A committee of ten DMRM staff--including 2 biologists, 5 project officers, 2 hydro-geologists, and 1 program manager--have outlined and will be implementing the process throughout 2010. A detailed description of the process can be found on DMRM Acid Mine Drainage Program page (see Additional Information section).
Three watersheds have been chosen in which to begin AMDAT development over the 2010 calendar year. These include Brush Creek (a Muskingum River tributary in Muskingum County), Mud Run (a Tuscarawas River tributary in Tuscarawas County), and Lick Run (a small tributary to Piedmont Lake in Belmont County). Evaluation of other streams throughout the coal bearing region of the state will occur concurrently while AMDATs are being developed.
In 2009, DMRM actively provided support for the following watershed projects:
ODNR and the Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership have been recognized with the Office of Surface Mining's 2009 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award in the Appalachian Region for the Belden AMD Reclamation Project, the first of its kind awarded in Ohio.
The Mineral Zoar Project, located at the headwaters of the longest tributary to Huff Run, was constructed in 2009 by the Beaver Excavating Company. The project will be the first of its kind in Ohio to use a Reverse Alkaline Producing System (RAPS). Water from a deep mine on the northeast end of the project is filtered through mushroom compost and subsequently passes through a limestone bed and finally into an existing wetland. Water from the mine on the eastern section of the project is channeled through limestone and into a new anaerobic wetland containing mushroom compost. Both systems join and flow under a railroad bed and into a Huff Run tributary that runs through the Mineral City Park. The Mineral Zoar Road Project is funded by DMRM and with a grant from the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) which is administered by Crossroads RC&D. The total project will cost about $365.440.
The Thomas Project began construction in 2009 and will continue into 2010. The site surrounds part of Huff Run's Linden Bioremediation Project on Hope Road in Carroll County. Constructed by Red Malcuit Inc., much of the project involves the reclamation of abandoned coal spoil piles and four related acidic impoundments left by surface mining. Limestone channels were placed to neutralize pH, convey water and prevent erosion. A sediment pond promotes metals removal at one of the discharge points, while an existing impoundment acts as a polishing pond. The Thomas Reclamation Project is funded by a Section 319 Ohio EPA grant administered by Rural Action along with monies from DMRM and OSM. Total project cost is about $480,000 to $495,000.
--Maureen Wise, Watershed Coordinator, Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership, Inc.
Plans are being finalized to reclaim the most significan source of acid mine drainage (AMD) in the Leading Creek Watershed, an unnamed tributary of Thomas Fork (sample site TF15). A feasibility study and preliminary design has been completed for the reclamation, known as the Thomas Fork Doser Project. The Thomas Fork Doser project will be completed in partnership with the DMRM, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Leading Creek Improvement Committee, and the Meigs SWCD. Contracts and funding agreements are now being drafted to begin construction at this site in 2010. Surveying and exploratory core drilling was recently completed at this site.
Contracts and funding agreements are also being drafted to complete reclamation projects at three other significant AMD sites in the watershed. These are known as Casto Seep, Hysell Run and Bailey Run project areas.
The Little Leading Creek Sediment Study has been completed by Ohio University.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Leading Creek Improvement Committee are working to reintroduce two aquatic organisms into Leading Creek. A partnership has been formed with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium / Ohio State University to establish freshwater mussels and fish, including Brindled Madtom, in Leading Creek. The goal is to augment these populations that were damaged by a devastating coal mine discharge in 1993. The production phase of the Brindled Madtom project has begun. The freshwater mussels project is scheduled to begin in March 2010.
The Gaston Project has been completed. The project involvesenrollment of 42 acres, 4528 linear feet of stream, and 7448 linear feet of riparian area adjacent to Sharps Run into an environmental covenant. The land will now be perpetually protected from degradation and development. The project is funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Leading Creek Improvement Committee using funds resulting from the coal mine pumping in 1993.
Another pending environmental covenant is with the United Plant Savers organization. This project will ultimately protect 295,425 acres of land in the Little Leading Creek Watershed through an environmental covenant.
--Raina Fulks, Watershed Coordinator, Leading Creek Improvement Committee
Construction of the Shawnee Steel Slag Leach Bed was completed on October 10, 2008. Four weeks after the start of operation, water flowing through the Shawnee steel slag leech bed dropped from 15 gallons per minute to less than 2 gallons per minute. It is believed that the combination of suspended solids from the wastewater treatment plant and rapid algae growth from dissolved nutrients in the wastewater clogged the surface of the steel slag leach bed.
In October of 2009, the DMRM installed a settling tank between the wastewater treatment plant and the steel slag leach bed and a sand filter just upstream of the leach bed to capture and settle larger suspended solids.
The project goal of the Shawnee steel slag leach bed is to reduce the Monday Creek acid load by at least 85 pounds per day to provide a net alkaline discharge. It is expected that the steel slag leach bed will generate a highly alkaline effluent for 10 years.
Wayne National Forest in cooperation with Hocking College began construction on the Lost Run Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Project. Lost Run Road, located two miles south of New Straitsville on State Route 595, is the site of several mine reclamation projects. Currently, personnel from the Wayne National Forest are overseeing the addition of two steel slag beds by faculty and students from Hocking College. The project will consist of building a dam to create a freshwater supply pond that will provide water to both steel slag beds. The beds contain four feet of steel slag and will operate on a 24-hour filling and draining cycle. In each cycle, one bed fills as the other bed drains leaving a minimum of one foot of water covering the slag at all times to prevent contact with the air. The highly alkaline water will run into Lost Run at 65 gallons a minute and raise the pH of the normally acidic tributary.
Construction began September 14, 2009 on the U.S. Forest Service New Straitsville South Closures Project. Access roads and a bridge were constructed in the early stages of the project and four subsidences in channel B and a subsidence in channel C were closed in a hollow south of the New Straitsville Waste Water Treatment Plant off of State Route 595. Additionally, a blocked drainage was also cleared in Channel D. Two subsidences in channel A will be closed when construction is resumed April 15, 2010 or when weather conditions improve. Project completion is slated for June 1, 2010.
Construction began early November on the U.S. Forest Service’s Brush Fork Project. The proposed project will reroute a tributary around two interconnected subsidences in Brush Fork. The larger subsidence will remain open and the smaller will be filled and a culvert put in place to maintain airflow and bat activity. The service road has been repaired and timber removed and cleared from both channels A and B. Stabilization of Channel A was started prior to inclement weather conditions. Construction will continue in the spring when weather conditions improve.
In addition to steel slag beds, a two-acre coal refuse pile, west of the main construction site, will be capped with soil, contoured, graded, and seeded. Another small project will replace a current beaver dam with a small rock wall to enhance existing wetland habitat. Limestone channels will be constructed from the mouth of two previously closed mine entrances in close proximity to the drainage area and a third mine entrance will also be closed. Completion of the project is slated for the summer of 2011.
--Sarah Drerup, Americorps Member, Monday Creek Restoration Project
In December 2009, the Congo Run-11/Little Hocking Stream Capture Project was completed. This stream capture is part of the Congo Run Subwatershed and is the fourth stream capture project to be completed within the Sunday Creek Watershed. The drainage area that was being captured by the subsidence feature was approximately 256 acres, intercepting an estimated 94 million gallons of surface water annually. The surface water that was entering the subsidence was net alkaline and it was estimated that 219 lb/day of alkalinity was being lost through this stream capture. This reduced Congo Run’s buffering capacity while increasing the amount of AMD being produced by underground mines. The project consisted of sealing one primary stream capture and two secondary stream captures. Three rock channels were created that will now carry the net-alkaline surface water to an impoundment that flows into Congo Run. Post construction monthly monitoring will begin February 2010 for six months. An OSM Clean Streams Initiative Grant was awarded to help fund this project. The final cost for the project was $195,286 with the DMRM contributing a total of $133,513 towards the completion of the project.
Work will begin on the West Branch Headwaters Project by March 15, 2010. This project is being funded through the DMRM, an OEPA 319 Grant and an OSM Clean Streams Initiative Grant. The project will include several phases. Phase I will begin construction this spring and Phase II is planned for construction winter/spring of 2010-2011. Phase I of the project involves installation of four monitoring wells (installed summer of 2009), sealing of four stream captures and reclaiming a 1.28 acre gob pile. Collectively these four subsidence features capture an estimated 25 million gallons of net-alkaline surface water annually that would otherwise provide buffering capacity to the stream. Phase II will include the construction of Sunday Creek's first AMD treatment system to help treat four AMD discharges in the area. A few months of post-construction monitoring of Phase I will be done this summer/fall to evaluate any changes to flow/ water quality before Phase II construction begins. These sites are adjacent to the West Branch Headwaters main stem, which is located in the northwestern part of the Sunday Creek watershed at Section 23 of Saltlick Township, Perry County. The main goal of the West Branch Headwaters Sunday Creek Restoration Project is to reduce acidity and metal loadings. This would equate to annual acid and metal reductions of 10,731 lb/year and 59,787 lb/year respectively. The DMRM will contribute $280,080 to the $505,478 total project cost.
Sunday Creek Watershed Group is working to return Sunday Creek to a stream capable of supporting a healthy and diverse biology and an asset to the watershed residents.
--Amber Leasure-Earnhardt, Watershed Coordinator, Sunday Creek Watershed Group