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Old 07-15-2014, 07:54 AM
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MadisonBoats MadisonBoats is offline
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Post Big South Fork/Coal Mine Drainage/Coal Creek Similarity

Big South Fork/Coal Mine Drainage/Coal Creek Similarity-? I feel that the coal creek watershed is a similar mining-impaired watershed to that of Big South Fork and thought this article was worth noting. I am not trying to demean the coal industry. My intention is to inform and help us work together to address these problems going forward.

Cite:www.wbir.com
Big South Fork wants public input on coal mine drainage

http://www.wbir.com/story/news/local...nage/12657457/
Quote:
Officials with the Big South Fork want your ideas for cleaning contaminated mine land drainage and preserving the park for years to come.
For decades, coal mining provided jobs and a way of life for folks living in the Big South Fork area. Now, coal runoff from those abandoned mines present a hazard to many ecosystems within the park.


The group's first meeting Monday allowed the public to discuss ideas to clean up contaminated mine land drainage in Big South Fork.
Exposed coal seams from old mines allows rainwater to mix with coal and eventually run to the river.


A second meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 15 at the McCreary County Senior Citizen's Center and a third meeting will take place on Thursday, July 17 at the Oak Ridge High School food court. Meetings last from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Comments can be submitted online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/biso.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:44 AM
Backtrax Backtrax is offline
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Shawn,

WBIR did not include all the information in their news blurb.

These meetings are a part of the process in developing and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to mitigate acid mine drainage from six old abandoned coal mines in the Big South Fork. The process to develop an EIS requires that early in the process a comment period and public meetings are held to receive input from the public on what the EIS should include, these meetings are a part of this process. After the comment period is closed, the responses are reviewed and a draft EIS is completed.

The draft EIS goes through the public comment process again before it is finalized. The draft is released for a public review and comment period and a series of public meetings are held to review the draft. Once any needed revisions are made the EIS is finalized. With the EIS completed the process of securing funding for the project can begin.

Nothing with the government moves at a fast pace, it takes years from the start of the EIS process to final project completion. The Big South Fork is just finishing up a project to plug and reclaim 20-30 abandoned oil and gas wells. As best I can remember the EIS for that project was started about 10 years ago.

Public input in the early stages is very important in shaping the final EIS for this or any project like this and I would encourage everyone who has comments to get involved in the process.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:14 PM
Joe Congleton Joe Congleton is offline
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are you sure there is truly acid mine drainage? My information for years is that historically never been a acid mine drainage site in Tennessee. Discolored water-yes, but that is not of itself enough to constitute a defined "acid mine drainage" under the and mining laws and regulations governing the coal industry. True acid mine drainage typically requires sulphuric coal seams that are far more acidic than those historically mined in Tennessee. If there is true acid mine drainage l think you can be sure there would be incredible oversight and corrective measures undertaken. The Surface Mining Reclamation Act in Tennessee is overseen by the federal office of surface mining; Tennessee has what many familiar with the details of this oversight view as the most stringent enforcement in the country , and in fact, the result is that there is precious little coal production today in Tennessee, nor has there been for a couple of decades. fwiw
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:48 PM
waterwolf waterwolf is offline
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I certainly know of several small streams which display the orange color associated with the presence of sulphuric acid run off. I do wonder if its not the presence of iron though which could also cause that coloration.

The coal mining in coal creeks headwaters is done and probably won't ever return. Even if it did the way they mine now only provides benefits to the mining site as the habitat regenerates and provides valuable tansition areas for a ton of critters. There is zero negative impacts to the watersheds based on what I see in areas being mined right now.

The mountains that form the coal creek drainage are heavily dotted with gas and oil wells and for the foreseeable future there's little chance of mining returning to that tiny area.

Coal creeks headwaters are in as good of shape as they could be in, and any contamination is minuscule. The primary contaminant is silt during heavy rain events.

Also, with the crippling regs from the EPA the coal industry is dying. I normally wouldn't mind this occurring, but I've seen the benefits of the regenerating land to all wildlife species. Unlike the stagnant forests of national parks that have sparse wildlife populations, the reclaimed strip mine mountain sides are alive with all types of wildlife.

Sadly there's a large portion of people who don't understand how sterile undisturbed woods are in comparison to areas with all ages of habitat regeneration.
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:07 PM
Backtrax Backtrax is offline
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Joe,

The biggest problem with acid mine drainage in the Big South Fork is just across the state line in McCreary County KY. These mines have been abandoned for 50 years or more and pre-date much of the regulations. In the TN side the problem is not as bad. The best I can remember the problem in TN comes from spoil piles left over from some of the old deep mines.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:05 PM
waterwolf waterwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backtrax View Post
Joe,

The biggest problem with acid mine drainage in the Big South Fork is just across the state line in McCreary County KY. These mines have been abandoned for 50 years or more and pre-date much of the regulations. In the TN side the problem is not as bad. The best I can remember the problem in TN comes from spoil piles left over from some of the old deep mines.
I've spent thousands of hours in Mcreary and cannot remember the last mine I saw leaching anything. I'd love to hear where these areas are.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:45 PM
Backtrax Backtrax is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
I've spent thousands of hours in Mcreary and cannot remember the last mine I saw leaching anything. I'd love to hear where these areas are.
Waterwolf,

I lost a good pair of Redwing boots to the Worley Mine a few years ago. I was stepping across a small stream with mine drainage, slipped on a rock and my boot went in ankle deep. About two weeks later the sole of the boot came off because all the glue was eaten away. The Worley mine is still running dark orange but I don’t remember what the PH level of the water is.

The lower third of rock creek was a dead stream for years because of the runoff from mine drainage. The USFS did a reclamation project on that mine 6-7 years ago and the stream is starting to recover.

There is a large spoil pile leaching in to the river just up-stream of the old Blue Heron Mine.

There are/were acid mine drainage problems from the Justice Mine as well but I have not been in that area in a while and don’t know the status of that one.

There is a spoil pile in the Vanover Ridge area that has been burning for years and every time it gets very dry they have a forest fire there.

Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head but the NPS lists 9 areas in their EIS scoping announcement.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:09 AM
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MadisonBoats MadisonBoats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backtrax View Post
WBIR did not include all the information in their news blurb.

These meetings are a part of the process in developing and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to mitigate acid mine drainage from six old abandoned coal mines in the Big South Fork. The process to develop an EIS requires that early in the process a comment period and public meetings are held to receive input from the public on what the EIS should include, these meetings are a part of this process. After the comment period is closed, the responses are reviewed and a draft EIS is completed.

The draft EIS goes through the public comment process again before it is finalized. The draft is released for a public review and comment period and a series of public meetings are held to review the draft. Once any needed revisions are made the EIS is finalized. With the EIS completed the process of securing funding for the project can begin.

Nothing with the government moves at a fast pace, it takes years from the start of the EIS process to final project completion. The Big South Fork is just finishing up a project to plug and reclaim 20-30 abandoned oil and gas wells. As best I can remember the EIS for that project was started about 10 years ago.

Public input in the early stages is very important in shaping the final EIS for this or any project like this and I would encourage everyone who has comments to get involved in the process.
Thanks for adding clarity and more details to this issue Backtrax!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Congleton View Post
are you sure there is truly acid mine drainage? My information for years is that historically never been a acid mine drainage site in Tennessee. Discolored water-yes, but that is not of itself enough to constitute a defined "acid mine drainage" under the and mining laws and regulations governing the coal industry. True acid mine drainage typically requires sulphuric coal seams that are far more acidic than those historically mined in Tennessee. If there is true acid mine drainage l think you can be sure there would be incredible oversight and corrective measures undertaken. The Surface Mining Reclamation Act in Tennessee is overseen by the federal office of surface mining; Tennessee has what many familiar with the details of this oversight view as the most stringent enforcement in the country , and in fact, the result is that there is precious little coal production today in Tennessee, nor has there been for a couple of decades. fwiw
Joe, it is not so much want is going on now with mining that is the issue; but, what has been done in the past. Many of these mines were abandoned and flooded. When it rains excessively; the loose silt re-agitates and mixes with ground water and runoff leading to connected water-bodies. Additionally; many of the toxic minerals have higher levels of specific gravity than top soil. This allows them to settle/burrow with the ebb and tide effect of rain events. This creates a long term cycle of re-contamination of affected water-bodies. Also; due to lobbying-many of the federal laws governing mining are extremely TERM specific in that they allow loop holes and back-doors to get around them. In addition, they do not make news when the mine operators are no longer present to blame or pay for the cleanup.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:45 PM
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kytroutman kytroutman is offline
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How much is acid runoff versus the yellow manganese that leaches from coal mine drainage? Growing up in SE Kentucky and knowing the Big South Fork area, the amount of manganese and pyrite was always an issue in the water, not necessarily the sulphuric or acid levels. That doesn't mean the acids don't exist, but over the long haul, the accumulation and the lack of dissipation could cause some issues.
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:45 PM
Joe Congleton Joe Congleton is offline
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Im not going to debate the science of this on this board, since it is not really a Tennessee trout stream or tailwater issue IMO. I will simply note ,again, that my opinion is that true AMD would be vigorously cleaned up by the appropriate governmental agencies (whether an permittee-operator was around or not and no matter when it occurred).

In the FWIW category, the Rock Creek mentioned above happens to be a real nice little trout stream , today, in whatever state of water issues exist , as l suspect Kytroutman knows.
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