Big Mine Run Geyser

Dunking my phone in acid mine drainage at the Big Mine Run Geyser, also known as the Centralia Borehole. This drains a network of abandoned mine tunnels in the hills behind where I’m standing and discharges 9.83 million gallons of water per day. It contributes 17,453 lbs/day acid, along with 858 lbs/day iron and 46,453 lbs/day sulfate to Mahanoy Creek, which drains to the Susquehanna river and then on to the Chesapeake Bay. Mine pools— massive underground reservoirs of water which accumulate in mine tunnels— are a constant presence in the Coal Region. The water dissolves iron in the rocks and becomes acidic, getting its characteristic rust color. Thousands of boreholes, seepages and pumping stations such as this one drain into local watersheds, sending pollution hundreds of miles to the Chesapeake. But if the boreholes were plugged and the pumps shut down, the water would table would rise until all the basements of NEPA were flooded. The only solution is to treat the discharged water, no easy task when the outfall is measured in millions of gallons per day. A number of clever solutions have been devised to effectively treat the waste in perpetuity, but are costly to implement. Organizations like @epcamr are doing amazing work protecting Pennsylvania’s waterways and studying the problem. #coal #america #lookingatappalachia

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Further Reading:

Old Forge Borehole & Acid Mine Drainage

http://amrclearinghouse.org/Sub/SCARLIFTReports/Mahanoy/Pollution%20Sources.pdf (mirror)

https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2004/5291/pdf/sir2004-5291.pdf (mirror)