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Final Phase of Deer Creek Mine Drainage Project Slated to Start

The last phase of an effort to treat water discharge from the Indianola mine pool is slated to start March 17.

The project is expected to improve the water quality of Little Deer Creek. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation and the Clean Streams Foundation is designing a settling pond to handle the discharge that currently flows into Little Deer Creek.

“What the settling pond does is it takes the impurities, the metals, that are a part of mine water and it allows them to be settled out of the water,” said DEP spokesman John Poister. “Then the clean water essentially is then moved into the creek.”

The creek, which is a popular stream for trout fisherman, has taken on an orange color in recent years due to the drainage.

“The big change would be in the color of the creek. It would no longer be orange,” Poister said. “This water is not particularly acidic, and so we’re not concerned about the acid part of it as much as we are about the metals that are in the water here.”

The problem isn’t unique to Little Deer Creek. Poister said drainage from abandoned mines is a big issue throughout the commonwealth.

“We have a lot of mine drainage, some of it very acidic, that is going into streams and creeks all through the state, all across the state,” Poister said. “We have literally thousands of miles of streams and creeks that are fouled from this mine drainage.

Poister said the hope is to have the work on the Redland Mine drainage project done by fishing season in April.

“If the weather holds and we don’t have any more snow storms or deep freezes, they can get the work done,” he said.

Work on this phase is funded in part by a $250,000 Growing Greener Grant. Work on the project, which is being done by Adam Eidmiller Inc. of Greensburg, is slated to cost nearly $160,000 and will include tree removal along with pond construction. The Indianola Trust Fund will manage and maintain the treatment system long-term.