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.
Speaker: Dr. Anthony Iannaccione Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Pittsburg.
The Subtropolis Mine is a room-and-pillar mine extracting the Vanport Limestone (Allegheny Formation, Pennsylvanian System) near Petersburg, Ohio. The rooms are nominally 40 ft. wide and 16 ft. high. In February of 2018, mine management began implementing a new mine layout to better control the negative effects of excessive levels of horizontal stress.
‘Stress Control’ mine layouts evolved at mines suffering from strata instabilities, resulting in experiments utilizing methods to mitigate adverse impacts. Jack Parker was able to write about personal experiences at the White Pine mine in Michigan and formulate a basic framework for the ‘stress control layout’. Various research at the USBM, MSHA, and NIOSH have studied its effectiveness over a wide range of geologic conditions. While this design approach has proven successful in many categories, it is difficult to implement and can concentrate stresses in crosscuts.
To help better understand these issues, NIOSH and East Fairfield Coal Company are cooperating on a research project at the Subtropolis Mine. This project consists of detailed in-mine mapping in conjunction with state-of-the-art 3D Dynamic LiDAR scans by Mine Vision Systems. These methods are being used to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of this engineering intervention towards lowering potential injuries from strata instabilities.
Shade Furnace: Raising an Iron Furnace in the Frontier Forest of Somerset County
Speaker: Brian L. Fritz is an Adjunct Professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and the Owner/Principle Archaeological Investigator for Quemahoning, LLC, a cultural resources consulting business that specializes in applying principals of geology within the practice of archaeology. Mr. Fritz has earned a B.S. in geology and a B.A. in Anthropology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. in Geology at the University of Akron. His ten years of experience in owning and operating an open pit bituminous coal mining business provides unique insights into the archaeology of Pennsylvania’s early extractive industries. His award winning book “Shade Furnace: An early 19th Century Iron making Community in Somerset County, Pennsylvania” is available to purchase please contact us for details.
In the year 1808, Somerset County was little more than a mountain forest with patches of fledgling farmsteads connected by rutted bridle paths. From this frontier forest, a partnership of industrious men launched a plan to raise an iron furnace along the banks of Shade Creek. Their daring plan brought to life a charcoal blast furnace, a forge for refining pig iron, and an iron plantation of more than 5,000 acres. Shade Furnace produced both success and failure to its many owners over an operational life of fifty years. Today, the ruins of Shade Furnace remain relatively undisturbed along the rugged valley slopes of Shade Creek. Its stone walls and abandoned mine pits are a time capsule to a nearly forgotten era when the engines of industry lay in the rural forests and not in the sprawling cities. The legacy of Shade Furnace continues to inspire our imagination and the entrepreneurial drive that is so deeply rooted in the pioneering spirit of the American Frontier.
“Rare Earth Elements in Coal”
Speaker: Farley Wood, P.E., of Tetra Tech, Inc.
Wonderful and informative presentation on the research and development of Rare Earth Elements extraction processes and their importance in everyday life from cell phones to laptops. Thank you Farley Wood.
Speaker: Greg Aaron, Geologic Specialist, Department of Environmental Protection, Cambria District Mining Office.
“Earth Vision” software is a 3D Modeling Tool and is utilized by DEP Ebensburg for Overburden Assessment and Geologic Interpretation. Greg will provide an overview and we will discuss the potential of a coordinated training effort based upon membership interest
“Advancement of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative; Forest Reclamation Approach in Pennsylvania and Proposed GP-106 for Reclamation of NonCoal Forfeited Sites.”
Speaker: Eric Oliver, Mineral Resources Program Specialist, Department of Environmental Protection