In 2007, DMRM actively provided support for the following watershed projects:
Completed in 2006, Harsha North Reclamation Project is still exceeding water quality effluent expectations after its first year in operation.
The Belden Reclamation Project, partially funded by a U.S. EPA Targeted Watershed Grant, was designed in 2007. The 15 acre site will include reclamation of exposed toxic clay, coal spoil piles and strip ponds. Two steel slag leach beds and a settling pond will work to decrease metal loadings and acidity as well as boost alkalinity and pH. In a good quality pond, steel slag berms will decrease alkalinity before entering one of the leach beds, similar to the Lyons Project (completed in 2005). One facet of the reclamation will also positively impact water quality on the Harsha North site. Belden will be bid in early 2008 and constructed over the summer.
Final work on the Mineral Zoar Road Project design was also completed in 2007. A reverse alkaline producing system (RAPS), additional wetlands and limestone channels will address acid mine drainage flowing from two abandoned mines. Effluent from these mines enters the longest tributary of Huff Run, which runs through the Mineral City Park. Mineral Zoar will be bid out in the spring of 2008.
Design for the Fern Hill/ HR-42 Project made headway in 2007. Directly adjacent to Huff Run, an orange plume (HR-42) spews out acid mine drainage with no apparent source. Studies have shown that the bordering hillside is filled with orange stained fractures in the rock. The Fern Hill project will reclaim the largest and closest strip pond to this fern covered hill with the hopes of cutting off the source of water to the plume.
The Little Leading Creek Sediment Study being conducted by Ohio University is now in the final draft stages and is expected to be completed very soon.
The proposal submitted for the feasibility study and preliminary design to treat the AMD at the Unnamed Tributary of Thomas Fork was approved and funded for up to $50,000 by the Leading Creek Improvement Committee (LCIC) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). The study and design project is currently underway by a consultant and should be completed in April. Once this project is final, a construction proposal will be submitted this year for the reclamation work to the LCIC and FWS.
The feasibility study and preliminary design is in the beginning stage for another tributary to Thomas Fork known as Casto's. The site is one of the top three loaders of AMD to the creek.
Construction was completed on the first phase of work on the Lost Run Project in 2006. The second phase of work took place in 2007 and is nearing completion. The total project cost of $881,300 was shared between Ohio EPA and the Division. Construction included six limestone leachbeds, a steel slag bed, limestone channels and a series rock dams that will treat AMD discharging from the 3 square mile subwatershed located in Hocking and Perry counties.
The Shawnee steel slag leach bed will be constructed in the summer of 2008. The project is funded through an Ohio EPA 319 Grant. The project cost of $205,677 will be shared between Ohio EPA, U.S. Office of Surface Mining and the Division. The project will use water discharging from the wastewater plant operated by the Village of Shawnee in Perry County. The treated wastewater will be diverted into a steel slag bed, where alkalinity concentrations will be increased. The water will then be discharged directly into Monday Creek mainstem.
The mainstem of Monday Creek continues to improve as a result of the reclamation projects completed to date. Long term water monitoring completed in Monday Creek verifies pH values greater than 6 for up to twenty river miles. Biological sampling performed in 2007 documented a greater abundance of fish in the upper ten miles of Monday Creek, an area that in the past has been severely impaired by AMD.
With the passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, Congress approved nearly $21 million for projects to restore Monday Creek. The ecosystem restoration project for the Monday Creek Watershed is administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. Currently, only a portion of the money needed to complete the project was appropriated for 2008. The federal budget included $282,000, which will fund approximately one third of the total engineering cost. The Division will be providing local match for the project.
The East Branch of Raccoon Creek Phase 1 AMD Treatment Project was completed in December of 2007 through an EPA Section 319 grant by the Vinton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The Division provided matching funds for the grant, which was completed for a total cost of $1,001,583. ATC Associates designed the treatment project, which includes six steel slag leach beds, strip pit drainage, and reclamation of toxic spoil in two locations in the headwaters of East Branch. The intent of the project is to reduce acid loadings in East Branch (Hocking County), which is still the largest AMD loader to the Raccoon Creek Headwaters. A second phase of the East Branch project, is scheduled to begin in 2010 to further reduce acid loads.
The Pierce Run AMD Remediation Project was funded and began in September of 2007. The Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University is the EPA Section 319 grant sponsor and the Division is providing matching funds. The total estimated cost of project construction is $360,000. The project will treat AMD from the Oreton Seep in Pierce Run, Vinton County, which is the largest acid loader in the Pierce Run, a tributary to Raccoon Creek. AMD treatment will likely consist of a steel slag leach bed for acid neutralization and wetland expansion to store precipitated metals. Preliminary design, by ATC Associates, began in 2007 with a final design to be complete by the summer of 2008. This AMD project will reduce acid and metal loads to Raccoon Creek and improve aquatic health, which is impaired by AMD for seven miles downstream of Pierce Run.
The Raccoon Creek Partners continued their program of extensive water quality monitoring in 2007 to assess completed AMD treatment projects and develop strategies for new AMD treatment projects. For the Raccoon Creek watershed in 2007, a total of 187 water quality grab samples were collected and analyzed by the DMRM laboratory in Cambridge. In addition, Ohio EPA Southeast District collected 36 water quality samples at the three USGS gage locations in 2007. Since the ultimate goal of AMD treatment is recovery of aquatic life, the Raccoon Creek Partners continue to monitor fish and macroinvertebrates in the watershed to understand changes from treatment and to target future treatment projects. Macroinvertebrate data (MAIS) was collected and analyzed at 21 sites throughout the watershed, with fish data collected at 15 of those sites as well.
Since completion of the Pine Run Stream Capture Project, preliminary data suggests the anticipated outcome of decreased acidity (mg/L) concentrations and acid load (lb/day) directly downstream of the restored tributary’s confluence with Pine Run. For example, acidity loadings on Pine Run’s main stem decreased from 75 lb/day upstream to 59 lb/day downstream of the restored tributary. The total cost for this project was $129,171 with $70,340 supplied from the Division as state matching funds.
The Corning Gob Pile Project completed in November 2007 involved capping and vegetating 27 acres of old coal gob that was left behind in the early 1900s. Fire erupted at the gob site two times in the past, once in 1988 and again in 2000. Reclaiming the gob pile prevents slugs of sediment, iron and aluminum from being washed into the main stem of Sunday Creek during precipitation events. Post construction monitoring began in January 2008 to determine the water quality benefits of the project, therefore, water quality improvements cannot be quantified at this time. However, Sunday Creek’s AMDAT illustrates that the metal loadings range from 2.1 kg/day during base flow and 11.6 kg/day during spring flow. A similar reduction is anticipated once post construction monitoring is completed. The Division supplied $347,004 of the total project cost of $477,073.
A second stream capture project was completed in December 2007 at Rodger’s Hollow. An estimated 63,576,000 gallons of surface water was captured by this site each year and discharged as AMD. The treatment scheme involved filling two primary and four secondary stream captures. The stream was re-channeled utilizing natural stream channel design to promote positive drainage to Rodgers Hollow, eliminating its capture into a deep mine complex. Because the Rodgers Hollow Stream Capture Project was completed in late 2007, water quality improvements will not be available until mid to late 2008. However, the expected amount of alkalinity loading added to the streams thus providing buffering capacity to the watershed is 758 lbs/day. The total cost for this project was $428,218; $117,220 was supplied by the Division. To complete the project, approximately 10,500 tree seedlings will be planted consisting of willow, buttonbush, silky dogwood and swamp white oak. SCWG along with ODNR, the project landowners, Rural Action’s Forestry Team, and a slew of volunteers will plant the trees in late March 2008.
Two future projects, West Branch Headwaters and Congo Run-11, will begin sometime in late 2008 or early 2009. The West Branch Headwaters project was selected as a 2008-319 Grant and will involve two treatment schemes, one gob pile reclamation project and one stream capture project. The Division will contribute $280,080 to the $505,478 total project cost. Congo Run-11 will be the fourth stream capture project that has been completed thus far. The drainage area captured by the subsidence is approximately 256 acres. This subsidence captures an estimated 94 million gallons of surface water each year. It is estimated that 219 lb/day of alkalinity is being lost through this stream capture, thus reducing Congo Run’s buffering capacity while increasing the amount of AMD being produced underground. The Division will contribute a total of $137,866 towards the completion of this project.