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 Post subject: Mine mapping effort turns to Luzerne County
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:32 am 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Mine mapping effort turns to Luzerne County


By Paul Golias (Correspondent)

Published: April 18, 2014

The water level at the former Blue Coal Corporation mine in Ashley is at 98.2 feet, a level consistent with other mine water pool readings in the Wyoming Valley.

Robert Hughes, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said Paselo Logistics, LLC, owner of the mine property, allowed the agency to take readings and to examine the old mine shaft.

The agency was anxious to get the readings, Hughes said, because it is mapping the entire underground pool in the Wyoming Valley. Lackawanna County was mapped and work then shifted to Luzerne County.

The studies provide up-to-date information on the status of the mine pools and water quality, Hughes said. A continuing mapping program will help spot potential problems in this unseen legacy of the anthracite era, he said.

Five new boreholes were installed over the winter in Solomon Creek, Hanover Township, to ease the threat of serious flooding from mine water. The new holes and one remaining from the three that were dug decades ago should protect properties in Wilkes-Barre and Hanover Township, said Mike Korb, environmental project manager for the state Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Wilkes-Barre. Hughes said a reading taken at a test borehole in Hanover Industrial Estates, Hanover Township, also came in at 98 feet.

"We are working to calculate the surface elevation of the pool from the Sans Souci Parkway back toward Ashley," Hughes said. "We want to know the levels and the chemistry of the water."

At this point, he said, the new Ashley reading is consistent with other readings. The water taken was clear, showing only some silt, which is normal at the top of a borehole or shaft, he said.

Paselo is razing the Huber Breaker, which processed the coal mined in Ashley and elsewhere. The firm has not announced plans for the 26 acres purchased along with the breaker via a bankruptcy proceeding.

Hughes said the mine shaft is "a magnificent structure." It is a six-compartment shaft that allowed miners to enter the workings on cages as coal cars were pulled up at the same time. Four of the six shafts are open; two are covered by culm and debris, he said.

Hughes said the Paselo firm will decide how to make the shaft safe. "It is dangerous right now," he said. Options include filling the compartments or capping the structure. Filling would be a monumental undertaking given the size of the shaft opening, about 20 by 60 feet, and the depth, he said.

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