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 Post subject: Scrub Oaks will not be used as a water reservoir
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 1:59 am
Posts: 40
A Plan to use Scrub Oaks Mine as an Underground Water Reservoir is Cancelled
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Compiled from various sources.

Officials in Morris County have announced that a plan to use the former Scrub Oaks Mine, which closed in 1966, as an underground water reservoir has been cancelled due to various environmental obstacles that would have made the proposed $34-million project a potential boondoggle.

The County did not believe that it would be able to form the necessary close relationship with the state Department of Environmental Protection that it felt must be established in order to bring such an extensive project to fruition. The proposed underground reservoir would have extended over 2,400 feet into the bowels of the old mine.

Although the cost of the $1-million feasibility study was equally divided between the State of New Jersey and Morris County, the county would have had to unilaterally fund the building of the novel reservoir. Given the current economic situation, this is not a viable option.

The feasibility study, conducted by Hatch Mott MacDonald, a consulting engineering firm, determined that overflow water taken from the Rockaway River, Musconetcong River, and Lake Hopatcong, along with surplus water pumped from the County's various aquifer wells in low-demand periods, could be redirected into the abandoned mine which potentially could store 1.3 billion gallons of potable water. This reserve supply would have been available during peak-use months and droughts, providing about 3 million gallons of water daily. Detouring this water would not harm the environment, since the surplus water is going out to the Atlantic Ocean anyway.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection listed a number of potential impediments faced by the project, including determining whether the diverted water would impact the normal yield of the affected rivers and water basins, the future structural integrity of the abandoned mine, the continued quality of the stored water, the potential impact that water removed from the Rockaway River would have on Jersey City’s reservoir system, and land-use issues, in addition to procuring the multitude of environmental permits and approvals by various agencies.

In 2006, the Morris County Utilities Authority (MUA) recognized that the Scrub Oaks Mine had the potential to be an underground water reservoir. Subsequent tests showed that the mine appeared to be structurally sound and that it should able to withstand the rigors of a constant flow of water, and the water currently in the mine is high-quality and pollutant-free. However, with start-up costs estimated to be over $34 million and annual operating costs (mainly for pumping the water) over $3 million, it was felt that it was not economically feasible at this time.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Posts: 1758
Location: Winnemucca, NV
Once again the Scrub Oaks Mine's awesome caverns and network of tunnels will be drowned, hidden beneath the mountain. While I'm not sure if this is good or bad news from a historical point of view, I hope that the project at least enlightened some of the extensiveness of NJ's rich iron mining heritage.

"If you thought old, abandoned mines were only in the west, then you haven't been to!"

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:33 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3080
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Yeah I agree. I guess it is neat knowing that a historical mining operation is still in use, but given that it would be for a water supply / storage, there are always restrictions there.

Anthony, do you have any details on the pumping that took place there at the Scrub Oaks site for this study? i'd love to get more dirt on that study, if you have anything on it.

Miner Greg

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