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 Post subject: DEP investigates mine reclamation site
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:32 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 85
Location: Harrisburg, PA (or in the coal fields)
DEP investigates mine reclamation site
By Leslie Richardson
Published: December 9, 2009

Samples of discharge from a mine reclamation site near a Blythe Township Municipal Authority reservoir have tested positive for bacteria.

However, according to state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Mark Carmon, there is no risk to residents of Foster, Cass, Branch and Reilly townships who are served by the reservoir since the treated water piped to customers was bacteria free.

"We were contacted by our Pottsville district mining office and went out to investigate Friday," Carmon said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "They received reports from hunters in the area that there was a sewage smell and runoff near the reservoir."

Carmon said Charpak Coal Co., Minersville, is working on a mine reclamation project in the area using grass and leaf mulch to reclaim the site.

"We are not sure if there is something else out there since that should not be causing the problem," Carmon said. "But it definitely smells like sewage."

Blythe Township Municipal Authority manager Michael Burda said he was also contacted by hunters about the foul-smelling runoff.

Burda said the runoff from the mine, about a mile from the reservoir, runs into a stream but does not empty into the reservoir at this time because the authority has a gate there to divert it.

"The stream water is a feeder to the reservoir but we have it blocked since we would only use it during a drought. At this point, there is no danger to the water supply at all," Burda said.

Carmon said samples of the discharge were taken by the water authority Friday and showed presence of fecal coliform.

"It is still under investigation," Carmon said.

Carmon said DEP issued an order Monday to Charpak to develop a plan to eliminate the discharge. The coal company has 14 days to submit the plan to DEP.

Calls to Charpak were not returned at press time.

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