Pinkerton Run-AMD Flow Monitoring. In partnership with the Allegheny County Parks Foundation (ACPF), ACCD assisted with quantifying acid mine drainage (AMD) impacts to Pinkertons Run in Settlers Cabin Park, one of Allegheny County’s nine parks. With the intent to ultimately treat the AMD issues in the park, ACPF utilized resources from Trout Unlimited’s (TU) AMD Technical Assistance Program.

Partnering with Trout Unlimited |
With the intent to ultimately treat the AMD issues in the park, ACPF utilized resources from Trout Unlimited’s (TU) AMD Technical Assistance Program. AMD impacts were first evaluated in fall 2014 under low flow conditions. ACPF then requested that TU provide an assessment of AMD impacts via a monthly flow monitoring program for one year from spring 2015 to spring 2016 and a single high flow assessment in spring 2015. Monthly flow sampling was being conducted at nine discharges throughout the park by the Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD) with assistance from TU’s contractor, Hedin Environmental (HE).

Most of the discharges originate from an old Pittsburgh Coal strip mine bench that ribbons through the watershed. All AMD sources identified and sampled in fall 2014 were re-sampled in spring 2015.
Through this study we were able to determine that while many small flows of water in the Pinkertons Run watershed are polluted by inputs of AMD, these flows are readily neutralized by naturally occurring alkaline strata that occur downgradient of the coal seam. During both low and high flow conditions, most of the AMD is neutralized and the tributaries have pH 6-8 and net alkalinity at their inflow to Pinkertons Run, with two exceptions, Tribs 4 and 13, which are now the highest priority projects for eventual remediation.

The Milk Run Abandoned Mine Drainage System project is a broad-based, public-private partnership effort that includes the Montour Run Watershed Association, Continental Communities II LLC (landowner), Range Resources, PA DEP, Allegheny County Conservation District, Washington County Conservation District (WCCD), Independence Conservancy, BioMost, Inc., and Stream Restoration Incorporated (non-profit).

MKR3 abandoned underground mine discharge at headwaters of Milk Run

The Milk Run abandoned mine discharge emanates from a drainpipe in an abandoned underground mine in the Pittsburgh coalbed. The drainpipe outlet is along Mahoney Road in North Fayette Township, Allegheny County. The acidic, metal-laden, discharge is the primary source of water in the headwaters of Milk Run. As the mine drainage is carried downstream, water of better quality is encountered, causing a limited increase in pH sufficient to initiate the precipitation of aluminum solids. The dramatically white-colored “Milk Run” flows about ¾ of a mile before the confluence with an unnamed tributary of good water quality which further aids in the precipitation of white aluminum solids. The aluminum solids at the site responsible for severely limiting aquatic life within Milk Run. The white plume of aluminum precipitates has also been observed in Montour Run.

Due to a reclamation in-lieu of agreement between Range Resources and the PA DEP, we were given a rare opportunity to treat the Milk Run discharge utilizing primarily private funding. Through the agreement, Range Resources will be providing $758,089 for design and construction as well as $191,000 for a long-term operation & maintenance fund. Additional required funding was sought through the US Office of Surface Mining’s Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program. The project is currently in the construction phase with expected completion in 2018.

Milk Run downstream of MKR3 (05/21/09)