Mark Dickey standing next to Glade Run where a lime slurry is being added, raising the pH significantly
On September 25th, Friends of Blackwater staff, along with Troy Waskey and John Morgan of the Forest Service, Martin Christ of the DEP Watershed Improvement Branch, and several members of the DEP Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program toured the T&T Active Treatment Plant in Albright, WV.
In the control room, mesmerized by the knowledge that it takes to run this massive treatment site
Fikey Run, Glade Run, Muddy Creek, and the acid mine drainage (AMD) from two different mines are all treated by this plant, or receive the clean water flowing out of this plant, drastically improving the water quality of the Lower Cheat watershed and in turn, the terrestrial ecology. A 100 ton silo full of lime gets mixed with water flowing into the plant, raising the pH and forcing the dissolved metals to stick together, where they drift to the bottom of two large clarifiers and are pumped out as ‘sludge’. The metal-free water now has a pH of ~6.8 and flows back into Muddy Creek. Recently, the DNR did a fish survey in Muddy Creek and found an unheard of high level of fish and other aquatic life! The clean water flowing out of this treatment plant is proving successful at restoring this large creek.
One of two large clarifiers that help the metals settle out of the acid mine drainage (brown in center) and turn this polluted water into clean, healthy water (clear around perimeter).
Photo credit: Brittany Patterson/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
The North Fork of the Blackwater River receives a large amount of AMD from Mine Portal 29, Burn’s Blowout, and Long Run. The DEP Abandoned Mine Lands is investigating the possibility of building a smaller version of this treatment site along the Blackwater Rail Trail, treating all three of these pollution sources and raising the pH of the North Fork back to a habitable level. We were so thankful for the opportunity to see such a successful treatment plant and are excited to support AML in their planning of this potential new treatment site in Tucker County.