You’ve never heard of them, have you? Well, they made history in the Connellsville Coal Basin of Fayette County, Pennsylvania in the early1900s. The American Manganese Manufacturing Company (AMMC) had bought out the holdings of the Dunbar Furnace Company in 1914 and included in the purchase were coal mines, beehive and by-product coke ovens, a silica plant, iron and manganese ores from the Great Lakes region, blast furnaces, and a laboratory. They were poised to manufacture ferro-manganese, a necessary ingredient in the making of high-quality steel. At the time, ferro-manganese was being exported from Great Britain and Germany as none was being made domestically. AMMC was poised to “do it all” – mine coal, make coke, and manufacture ferro-manganese. In fact, they were the first producer of ferro-manganese in the United States. AMMC was a forward-thinking company for their time. Dunbar Furnace Company had introduced by-product coke ovens into the Dunbar area in 1895 and were the second company to install them in the United States. AMMC continued that trend. But alas, in 1922, less than 10 years after their incorporation, they failed. In 1924 the property was sold, and the works were dismantled and sold for scrap. Not a trace can found of these once great works.
What happened? AMMC had been burdened with a strike and supply problem ins 1922, but, overall, their efforts were just too little, too late. The Connellsville area had much of its coal mining and coke making history behind it when AMMC bought Dunbar Furnace Company. The technology that they brought into the Connellsville basin was its ultimate undoing. By-products ovens were being built near the steel mills and chemical plants, outside the Connellsville area--industries that directly used the by-products. All that remains of AMMC’s legacy is a discharge from a small mine that apparently intercepted the workings of one of AMMC mines. You can see the discharge as you hike along the Great Allegheny Passage trail near Connellsville, PA.
Speaker: Christopher Yeakle – DEP, Knox District Mining Office & assisted by Samuel Faith
District Mining Operations has decided to use the e-Permitting platform for the submittal of Hydrologic Monitoring Reports electronically. Mine Operators can register in ePermitting and delegate who is authorized to submit reports for them, for example the lab or consultant. When the report is submitted the Department’s database will automatically be updated with the date the report was submitted. Hydrologic monitoring reports will be submitted in a spreadsheet with each monitoring point data included in a separate tab. Instructions on how to register in ePermitting will be available soon on the Bureau of Mining Programs website. Internal testing of the application began December 6. External testing by a few operators and consultants will begin January 1, 2022 for the submittal of the 4th Quarter 2021 HMRs. All operators should be able to begin submitting their HMR and Subchapter F & G data in April 2022 for the 1st quarter 2022.
Speaker: Christopher Yeakle – DEP, Knox District Mining Office & assisted by Samuel Faith
District Mining Operations provided an update on the electronic submittal of Hydrologic Monitoring Reports (HMRs). The ePermitting platform was chosen as the mechanism for the submittals. A timeline for the implementation of this project was provided. Testing by external users will be in January 2022 with a few selected operators submitting their 4th Quarter 2021 HMRs electronically. If there are no major issues identified the system will be available for all operators in April 2022 to submit the 1st quarter 2022 HMRs.
Bio: Jon Kasitz serves as a Client Solutions Manager for RES’ Northeast offices. Based in Pennsylvania, Jon has been working with clients to solve environmental permitting challenges for energy and public/private sector projects since he began his career. Before joining RES in January 2015, Jon worked for 11 years with RETTEW Associates, a leading provider of comprehensive, integrated engineering and related consulting services, where he was Pipeline Market Manager. He holds a BS in Ecology and Biology from Millersville University.
Below are link that Jon likes to share to show what his restoration projects look like.
Robinson Fork Phase 1 project in Washington County:
This project included over 20 miles of stream restoration, the largest of its kind ever completed in PA. Like all our mitigation bank projects, it was built with a floodplain restoration approach, where the stream and wetland restoration is integrated, generating both wetland and stream credit. This floodplain approach rebuilds the entire floodplain, dissipating the energy of the stream during flood events, and creates a lot of high value wetlands along a small, stable channel. There really is no one-sized-fits all approach for restoration, but in our experience this approach (where you have the room and appropriate conditions to work) creates high value wetlands, and also lower risk of having to come back and fix blown out structures. Most of the reaches in the video are around 3-4 years post construction.
Laurel Hill in Somerset County:
This is from this last summer, and is particularly interesting in that it shows the active construction process, and the scope/magnitude of the construction efforts.
Codorus Creek Phase 1 in York County:
This video is neat as it highlights some pre-construction photos, as-builts (2019) and Year 1 post-construction shots https://vimeo.com/452200806/3043c60262
(July 2020). We are actually building a second phase of this bank (directly downstream) later this year.
Speaker: Randy Miller, Territory Manager of TOPCON SOLUTIONS STORE
Randy Miller has been in the Positioning business for 27 years, the past 21 years with Topcon and Topcon Solutions. During that time, he has worked extensively with engineers, surveyors, construction companies and governmental agencies.
Speaker: Barb Dunst, PG, C.P.G., President of the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists.
Barb has over 30 years’ experience primarily in energy, specifically coal and natural gas working for consultants, industry and the PA DEP doing permitting, hydrogeological analysis, contaminant investigations and some engineering geology.
Her latest role was a regional manager for a shale gas production company responsible for coordinating all well locations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Barb’s department worked closely with the mining companies in those areas to approve shale gas well sites primarily over active and abandoned underground longwall coal mines. Her talk dealt with the interactions and complexities of those two major industries in Pennsylvania.
Barb highlighted the economic importance of the shale gas and underground mining industries in southwestern Pennsylvania and provided a brief overview of horizontal drilling and fracking operations. She explained how a coal casing string is installed through all mineable seams before extending the well to the pay zone over a mile beneath the surface. Barb also discussed locating well clusters in active mines through abutment pillars and summarized the TGD developed by the TAB Coal and Gas Subcommittee for shale wells drilled in chain pillars prior to longwall mining development. Barb also provided some examples of the hazards encountered when drilling into inactive mines such as blown mine seals, gas pockets over gob areas, shallow subsidence and stray gas migrating through subsidence fractures.
“Acid Mine Drainage: Abatement through Low-Cost Treatment of Coal Processing Waste Streams and Treatment for Recovery of Critical Elements”
Dr. Mohammad Rezaee is Thomas V. and Jean C. Falkie Mining Engineering Assistant Professor in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. His research results have been published in prestigious journals, books, and conference proceedings. He has received several awards including 2019 Outstanding Young Engineer award from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.
A SOLUTION WITHOUT A PROBLEM
Good afternoon. My name is Ron Musser, and I am a Registered Professional Geologist in the states of Pennsylvania and New York. I am Vice President of Musser Engineering, Inc. and current President of Pennsylvania Mining Professionals. I have been involved in the environmental consulting business for over thirty years, and have worked with the Maryland Bureau of Mines, as well as the PA Department of Environmental Protection on approximately200 mining permits and Government Financed Construction Contracts.
I speak to you today on behalf of Pennsylvania Mining Professionals. We are a statewide organization comprised of Engineers, Geologists, Surveyors and other Scientific Professionals directly involved in the preparation of various permits serving the coal, aggregate and other mining industries.
In 1999, a surface mine permit was issued to a mining company in Somerset County, PA. These seams mined were the Upper, Middle and Lower Kittanning coal seams. The mine was very successful and today you could walk across the backfilled and reclaimed mine site and never know that mining ever took place. An Erosion and Sedimentation pond was left in as a post-mining structure at the request of the landowner. Above the pond, a pipe outlet from a DEP-approved pit floor drain flowed into the pond and provided a year round source of cool water. Aquatic life, including pan fish that had been introduced into the pond, were thriving.
The permit was due for renewal in 2014 and the renewed permit imposed a manganese discharge limit to this sedimentation pond. With the stroke of a pen, the pond went from a beautiful farm pond to a water treatment facility. Chemicals in the form of caustic soda ash are now required to meet the restrictive manganese limit. The pond is now dead and harmful chemicals have replaced aquatic life. Treatment costs also went from zero dollars to nearly $20,000 per year. There was no stream degradation and no drinking water standards were even remotely in jeopardy. In this instance, manganese restrictions on the pond are harming the environment not helping and ultimately created: “A Solution Without a Problem”.
In 1987, I began monitoring the Stonycreek River located just upstream of the Hooversville Borough Water Supply Intake and currently have data that dates all the way back to 1982. This water sample collecting was done for various mining companies and continued almost uninterrupted until January 2020. The comparative data for manganese above the Hooversville Water Supply Intake has actually improved and over the last few years, manganese levels have decreased. This has occurred even though many successful surface mines have operated within the watershed and within this same time period. Again, proving that manganese restrictions are “A Solution Without a Problem”.
On a final note, the team at Musser Engineering are active volunteer members of the Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project. We volunteer our time to provide quarterly sampling and monitoring for the Oven Run Treatment System that the “Scrip” Watershed Organization has installed to passively treat Preact AMD, which data shows, has had a direct improvement on the Stonycreek River. If Pennsylvania is to continue to be a leader and an example in water quality improvement, advancement and maintenance, then our focus should be on a collaborative effort between the DEP, watershed groups and the industry, rather than spending time and resources on finding a solution to a nonexistent problem.
Thank you for your time.
Lake Wakatipu at Queenstown, The Hole in the Rock in the Bay of Islands (North Island), home of the Maori. They have a fantastic cultural center there and have been very proactive in keeping their language and culture alive.
Pacific Ocean along the South Island coast. During the earthquake of 2016 the ocean floor was raised at least 3 feet. Volunteers scraped the mollusks and other shallow critters off the rocks which were stranded above sea level and replaced them in the sea. One of most poignant places was Christchurch and the devastation of the earthquake of 2013. There were 168 lives lost and the memorial to those killed consists of chairs painted white. There are wheel chairs, office chairs, strollers and baby carriers. The cathedral was also extensively damaged and there still an on-going debate if it will be repaired, partially repaired of torn down.
The West Coast of the South Island is a temperate rain forest with over 18 METERS of rain a year. A lot of her "geology" was done at 55 mph but still was able to snap a photo of the junction of the Pacific and Australian Plate. Of course the "star" of the West Coast are the Southern Alps replete with fjords, Alpine Fault (which runs through the Southern Island) at Milford Sound (actually a fjord).There are vineyards, sheep, farmers, venison herds, and so much more. Three Weeks didn't even scratch the surface on all the sights. She hope to go back someday and explore again.
Monitoring Stability at Underground Limestone Mines using LiDAR, Stress, and Seismic Instrumentation
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has been studying the effect of challenging underground stone mining conditions on ground stability. As part of this research effort, they have ongoing monitoring projects at four different underground limestone mines in the Eastern U.S. These monitoring projects lean heavily on the use of LiDAR, seismic, and stress measurement devices. The results so far from these monitoring projects will be discussed along with the expected impact this may have on the underground stone industry.
Brent Slaker, PhD – Mining Engineer, NIOSH
Brent research interests in the past have focused heavily on LiDAR and Photogrammetry in underground mining.
Nicole Evanek – Research Geologist, NIOSH
Nicole started with NIOSH in June, and has begun focusing on research that improves the health and safety of underground stone miners.