> Not fully off-topic since it deals with water treatment
> and environment protection, etc. Thought that this article
> may be of interest to some. Sorry if the formatting gets
> messed up. -- sajjad
> Cow Manure Used to Treat Mine Drainage
> Mon Dec 30, 1:48 PM ET
> Science - AP
> By JUDY LIN, Associated Press Writer
> PITTSBURGH - Rarely does anyone advertise to buy 400 tons of cow
> manure, but that's what Bob Du Breucq did to get enough fertilizer for
> a water treatment project at a mine in central Pennsylvania.
> As vice president of Tanoma Mining Co., which ceased operating in 2000,
> Du Breucq had the task of putting together a reclamation project to
> make sure contaminated mine water doesn't pollute nearby waterways.
> He settled on building a high-calcium settling pond with limestone and
> cow manure that will reduce the acidity of water seeping out of the
> mine a process that mine reclamation experts say is safe for the
> environment and inexpensive.
> In the past 15 years, a number of passive treatment projects have
> sprouted in major mining states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia,
> providing an alternative to chemical treatment plants, said West
> Virginia University mine reclamation specialist Jeff Skousen. The
> chemical treatment plants are known as active projects.
> "It's a good thing to do because it really aids (news - web sites) soil
> development and reclamation," he said.
> Passive treatment systems usually made into ponds, channels or
> wetlands are also friendly to the wallet. Du Breucq said it cost
> Tanoma about $200,000 to build its settling pond; a chemical treatment
> plant would have cost twice as much.
> Besides using cow manure, Skousen said other fertilizers such as
> sawdust, hay and mushroom compost can be just as effective.
> Nationwide, more than 4,600 abandoned coal sites are deemed unhealthy
> and unsafe by the government, said Gene Krueger, an administrator in
> the federal Office of Surface Mining. The office, however, doesn't
> track the number or the type of water treatment programs at mines, he
> Treating acid drainage from abandoned mines is a $5 billion problem for
> Pennsylvania alone, said Carl Lasher, a spokesman for the Department of
> Environmental Protection. Acids and metals produced by abandoned mines
> can discharge into streams, killing fish and insects, hurting plant
> growth and turning water orange.
> The state estimates 17,000 miles of streams remain polluted by acid
> mine drainage.
> Lasher said Pennsylvania has responded by operating 20 passive
> treatment systems, with eight more under construction. West Virginia
> environmental officials said the state also has worked on a number of
> passive treatment systems, many alongside conservation groups.
> In addition, Lasher said hundreds of Pennsylvania mining companies like
> Tanoma operate their own treatment systems, which can either be passive
> or active, at abandoned mine sites.
> Du Breucq, who recently completed Tanoma's water treatment project,
> says he's pleased with the settlement pond.
> "It's not a bad way to do it, particularly for the public, the streams
> and the operators," he said.
> On the Net:
> Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:
> West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection:
> Sajjad Lateef
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