Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge
After nearly five years of work, the $2 million Audenreid Project that will treat up to 12 million gallons of mine water a day at the headwaters of Catawissa Creek in Schuylkill County, is under construction and should be finished by the end of the year.
The treatment system will restore about 36 miles of the Catawissa Creek which could result in the removal of the Creek from the Department of Environmental Protection’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waterways.
It will be the first time in 75 years clean water will be restored to this portion of the Catawissa Creek.
The project was conceived by the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, but accomplished by a host of partners that include: Schuylkill County Conservation District, Columbia County Conservation District, Butler Enterprises, Paragon Adventure Park, Blue Nob Rod & Gun Club, East Union Township, DEP-Pottsville District Mining Office, DEP-Bureau of Watershed Management, DEP-Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior-Office of Surface Mining, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Fish & Boat Commission, Hedin Environmental, Rettew Associates, Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners, Columbia County Board of Commissioners, and James T. O’Hara, Inc.
The Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge is located approximately 2 miles east of the town of Sheppton in Schuylkill County.
Water quality monitoring has shown the average quality of the Audenreid Discharge to be: pH 4.03, alkalinity 2.31 mg/l; acidity 68.08 mg/l, iron 0.70 mg/l, aluminum 7.93 mg/l, and sulfates 136.25 mg/l, with an average flow of 8,478 gallons per minute.
An innovative passive treatment system will utilize new technologies and design features to treat the high flows of the discharge.
The discharge water will be diverted into a series of three, 12 feet high and 120 feet wide, circular concrete treatment cells filled with limestone. Once inside these cells, the discharged water will react with high calcium limestone, which will raise the pH of the water and cause the metals to precipitate out of solution.
Each treatment cell will contain about 4,600 tons of limestone and will provide about two hours of retention time.
The system must be flushed extensively and frequently in order to manage the accumulation of aluminum hydroxide solids and keep them out of the stream. About every two hours, the treatment tanks will be flushed by a series of automatic siphons into a large settling pond to receive the aluminum precipitate. The water will then flow into a second settling pond to provide final polishing before it is returned to the creek.
Funded primarily through an EPA Section 319 Grant, the project will be completed by December 31.
This project fulfills the promise in the motto of the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association very well—“Catawissa Creek – Soon to Be a World Class Trout Stream.”
For more information visit the Audenreid Project blog online.
NewsClip: Mine Drainage Project Proceeds
Attachments: Audenreid Project Fact Sheet – PDF
Project Photo Feature - PDF