The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

June 16, 2011

Mine cleanup system provides wetlands education

FORWARDSTOWN — Cleaning up one of the most well-known mine pollution discharges was not enough for the late Mary Beth Rauch of Hollsopple.

The former teacher, counselor and school administrator wanted the Lion Mining Grove No. 1 deep mine passive treatment system to enhance the Forwardstown area and serve as an environmental education resource for the entire region.

“Her idea was extravagant: Turning a treatment system into an environmental education destination,” Malcolm Crittenden, state Department of Environmental Resources watershed manager, said during a ceremony Thursday dedicating the massive pond and wetlands project to Mary Beth Rauch.

About 40 people gathered in a parking area off Route 985 overlooking two discharge guns spewing red, iron-tainted mine drainage into ponds. The completely passive system uses ponds and wetlands to settle out the iron from the water, DEP conservation engineer Eric M. Robertson explained. As the water flows from one pond to the next, it naturally becomes cleaner, eliminating the need for any treatment chemicals and saving taxpayers $11,000 a month.



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