The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

November 15, 2012

College receives $66G to study mine-water runoff

CRESSON — Mount Aloysius College has been awarded a $65,760 grant to help battle the area’s poor water quality from acidic mine drainage.

The college’s Science and Mathematics Department, under the direction of Merrilee Anderson, will study some of the more than 3,000 miles of Pennsylvania streams affected by the discharge. The students will look at microbial life in streams affected by mine-water runoff.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Mount Aloysius investigative team under Anderson’s direction will operate with a sub-grant as part of a larger foundation award headed by Duquesne University.

The grant involves eight regional educational institutions and seeks to encourage hands-on student engagement in both scientific research and solving community problems.

Anderson said that acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines results from oxygen-rich water flowing into the mines and reacting with heavy metals and other substances. When the acidic water flows out of the mine and back into the natural environment, the new compounds can seriously impact aquatic life. One of the local sites has a pH level of less than 3, where a healthy stream might have a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.

“One of our research sites will be the Hughes Borehole near Portage,” Anderson said. “Through repeated monitoring, we’ll determine baseline populations of certain microbes. Many of these are biomarkers. The presence or absence of certain microbes can be an indicator of water quality. The continued documentation of these microbes can be used as a measure of the efficacy of mitigation efforts.”

In addition to the Portage site, several other streams around the Southern Alleghenies area will be studied including Muddy Run, McGinnis Run, Laurel Run, Stone Run, Camp Run, Glenwhite Run, Wildcat Run, Powdermill Run, Roaring Run, Jefferson Run, Knapp Run, Olive Run and Golfcourse Run.

“This project allows Mount Aloysius students to achieve several valuable outcomes,” Anderson said. “Completing this needed research allows them to gain significant learning experiences not usually found in more traditional teaching models. These students will be taught and will use technical writing skills, laboratory techniques, real-life problem solving and critical thinking skills. What they learn will be put into immediate service to better their community.”

The terms of the grant allow work to being immediately and extend to the summer of 2016.

 

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Luksik, Peg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray. Johnstown resident Peg Luksik, who twice ran for governor as the Constitutional Party nominee, knows what it's like.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scaife remembered for strong convictions

    At a weekend memorial service, publisher Richard Mellon Scaife was remembered by the archbishop of Washington as someone who had the courage to stand “for things that mattered.”

    July 27, 2014

  • DePasquale Auditor: More Marcellus Shale well inspectors needed

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the past century.
    But boom times in the Marcellus Shale are bringing online thousands more wells that use a complicated process requiring more careful oversight.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Strained relationship between Corbett, Legislature not new

    Poking and prodding the Legislature to act on pension reform, Gov. Tom Corbett urged lawmakers to shorten their summer break and come back to the Capitol early.
    It’s a modest victory. The House will return to session Aug. 4, instead of the middle of September. And there’s little hint that lawmakers intend to knock themselves out trying to satisfy the governor.

    July 26, 2014

  • Wolf: Wealthy should pay more to cut school taxes

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf would make a centerpiece of his first budget proposal an increase in income taxes on Pennsylvania’s higher-earners to help expand the state’s share of public education funding in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in local property taxes levied by school boards.

    July 26, 2014

  • Penn State Abuse 27 Son: Joe Paterno afraid of wrongly accusing Sandusky

    Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno told his son the day after his firing that he hadn’t informed the coaching staff about allegations Jerry Sandusky may be a child molester because he was unsure whether they were true, Jay Paterno writes in a new book.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • State in Brief | Two guns found at alleged hospital shooter's home

    Authorities found two more guns at the home of a man suspected of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist in suburban Philadelphia before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back.

    July 26, 2014

  • Woman raising stink about people using backyard near turnpike as a rest stop

    A Pennsylvania woman says she can see drivers who pull off the side of a highway relieving themselves near her backyard, and state police have been asked to increase patrols.

    July 23, 2014

  • Parts of I-80, I-380 jumping to 70 mph

    Speed limits on more than 100 miles of two interstates in Pennsylvania will rise to 70 mph for the first time this summer, with similar increases possible next year on other stretches of roadway around the state, state transportation officials said Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Trial ordered for inmate in cellmate’s death

    An SCI-Houtzdale prison inmate has been ordered to stand trial on charges in the beating death of his cellmate a year ago.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads