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 Post subject: Project to Clean Up Acid Mine Drainage
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:25 am 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-n ... r-unveiled

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 Post subject: Re: Project to Clean Up Acid Mine Drainage
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:27 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Project to Clean Up Acid Mine Drainage
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Project aimed at clearing ‘orange’ river unveiled

Nanotechnology to be applied to Old Forge Borehole pollution

December 13. 2013 2:40PM
JOE HEALEY jhealey@psdispatch.com


Everyone knows the exact spot where the Lackawanna River turns orange.


You can even see it from space.


Commonly called the Old Forge Borehole, it was drilled in 1962 to alleviate a drainage issue deep in the mines but created an entirely different problem: acid mine pollution with a six-mile strip of orange “rust” that flows from the borehole in the Lackawanna, into the Susquehanna River. The rust color is actually an iron oxide deposit.


State and local officials gathered near the borehole Thursday morning to unveil a grand plan to use nanotechnology to clean it all up and sell the iron that’s gathered.


The state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority recently approved a $1 million grant from the Marcellus Legacy Fund. That, together with $300,000 in private funding, will acquire a 90-acre mine-scarred property adjoining the river in Duryea and allow land surveys to be complete. The land is being obtained from Popple Brothers Coal Co.


Bill Goldsworthy, a representative for Gov. Tom Corbett, said the grant money is coming from the state’s Act 13, collected from local impact fees.


“We have our new energy helping eliminate problems from the past, our old energy, the coal mining industry,” Goldsworthy said. “This project and others like it in other areas of the state will create jobs, eliminate orange water and really improve our environment. We’ll have water, trout and other fish. We’ll have a live river again.”


Engineer Tom Reilly of Reilly Associates explained the process to clean it up. He said the water coming up from the mines will be tapped underground and be piped to the top of a treatment tower, a 200-by-1,300-foot polishing pond. Nanotechnology will help treat the water and remove the iron oxide, which will be harvested, dried and ultimately sold.


Lower down the line, the 65 million gallons of cleaned water a day will help generate hydro-power to operate the plant and heat and cool it, and to dry the iron. A fish farm and hydroponic farming center is also planned for the site that would also generate income.


The Old Forge Borehole and the smaller Duryea Outfall below it result in a massive amount of pollution. Reilly said the borehole is the largest visible point of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


More than 65 million gallons of water a day flow from the Old Forge Borehole. which results in 1,584 tons of iron oxide sediment per year. And more than 15 million gallons of water a day flow from the Duryea Outfall, which produces 525 tons of iron oxide sediment yearly.


State Sen. John Blake said that’s been occurring every year for the past 50 years.


“You learn in public office is that people that you represent are often subject to circumstances for which they are not responsible and over which they have very little control,” he said. “The people of Duryea and Old Forge and folks downriver have had to look at an orange river for over 50 years. It seems incomprehensible.”


Reilly said that upriver the water is clean, until the water flows into Old Forge and Duryea.


“There have been enormous strides made in the Lackawanna River in the last 50 years with treatment facilities that have allowed the river to return to a condition where we have trophy trout just a quarter mile upstream from here,” Reilly said. “And then at the Old Forge Borehole we begin what is the orange river.”


Charles Medico, president of Susquehanna Mining Solutions which will build the treatment facility, discussed his involvement. He said that about four years ago, he was introduced to Chris Gillis, an engineer that developed a patented process for cleaning acid mine drainage water. He was interested, but didn’t know anything about this “rust,” so he had some water analyzed at Virginia Commonwealth University by Everett Carpenter.


“In about two weeks, he called me back and said to me, ‘Charlie, I’ve been trying to duplicate nanoparticles of this size and this shape and quality in my lab for two years and I have about 2 ounces,’” Medico said. “We sent him 1 pound. He was absolutely flabbergasted.”


The partnership, Reilly said, is unique. The state is providing some monetary support, non-profits such as King’s College are helping with the technology and research, and the for-profit company SMS is taking the helm. Neighboring Luzerne and Lackawanna counties are on board and so are the neighboring municipalities.


State Rep. Mike Carroll, who represents much of Greater Pittston, said it’s called the Old Forge Borehole and the Lackawanna River, but the pollution plagues Luzerne County and every town downriver.


“I can tell you as the representative of Duryea Borough and Pittston area that we endure that orange river and we’ve endured it for 50 years,” he said. “It’s important that we’re all embracing a plan, because up until now, we had no plan.”


Reilly said the marketable iron oxide, a powder, has many industrial and commercial uses. He said it can be used in paints and coatings, used as a pigment, in inputs for motors and in water treatment plants. And in more pure forms it can be used in iron supplements.


Google Earth, a commonly used satellite mapping program, indicates exactly where the Old Forge Borehole is. Just look for the orange.


Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2015.

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 Post subject: Re: Project to Clean Up Acid Mine Drainage
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:30 pm 
Wow. I had no idea that nanotechnology is so advanced! I thought that it would be confined to lab testing for at least a few more years!


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