The SCRA is citizens from all walks of life, most of whom live in the Shamokin Creek Watershed. We are working to restore the central Pennsylvania Shamokin Creek watershed which has been polluted by acid mine drainage. We would like to include you! We are a non-profit (501c3) organization, and we seek to involve citizens, businesses, local governments, and students.
What is acid mine drainage?
Mine drainage is the result of the exposure of pyrite to oxygen and water. Pyrite is found in association with coal deposits, and past coal mining caused this mineral to weather, releasing iron and acidity to the waters.
Once these waters reach the surface, iron oxidizes and precipitates iron hydroxide (yellow boy) on the stream bottoms, choking out most aquatic life. For a brief chemistry lesson, see AMD Primer located on Bucknell Professor Carl Kirby's website.
Coal mines now operate under much more strict regulations than in the past. Very little mine drainage escapes from current mines. The mine drainage nearby is almost exclusively from abandoned mines, so no responsible parties can be found to clean up the waters. This leaves the tasks to governments and citizens groups like the SCRA. Western Pennsylvania has aggressively begun to reduce mine drainage from abandoned mines. Now it is our turn!
What can be done about acid mine drainage?
Mine drainage can be successfully treated by active chemical addition, such as in the Rausch Creek Treatment Facility located near Valley View and operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). However, this method has high building and maintenance costs.
In the past fifteen years, passive treatment methods have begun to be used to treat mine drainage. One of the most successful methods involves the use of limestone to reduce the acidity and ponds to collect the yellow boy. This method, while not cheap, is much less expensive than active treatment. See our Projects page to learn about the passive treatment SCRA is doing in the Shamokin watershed.