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Acid Mine Drainage
Keystone State Park
New Alexander, PA
Keystone State Park has went though some major upgrade these past couple of years.
One of the things they did was to elimate the acid mine discharge coming from one
of the closed up old mines. If your ever out in the New Alexandira area stop by
Keystone and take a walk around there AMD system, you will find it below the dam
across from the camp ground entrance.
A1 - Sign showing how the whole system works
A2 - The first pond, mainly a settling pond to settle out most of the Iron Oxide.
A3 - You can just barely see the pipe were the water is coming in from the old mine.
The water coming out of the pipe looks nice and clear. Thats because the oxgene from
the air hasn't had time to react to the Iron Sulfate in the water. Once it mixes
with the air then it turns the rust color.
A4 - After a while the water flows into the second pond. This pond is divided in half, the
whole pond has the same limestone walls but on top of the limestone there is a layer of
compost for the Cattails to grow in. The first have looks like a another settling pond
and the second half has a thick layer of Cattails that the water flows though. The
purpose of the Cattails is to filter out some of the metals what are in the water.
A5 - Good shot showing the thick Cattails.
A6 - The other end of the 2nd pond showing how the rust color has been removed. The
water still has some acid in it.
A7 - The water exits the 2nd pond by flowing into a limestone channel to help
remove the remaining acid. It is allow to mix with some air now to help the microrobes
to do their job cleaning up the last of the metals and acid.
A8 - The output flows into the local stream a lot cleaner than it had been before.
The water may not still be drinkable but it is a whole lot better for the enviroment
than it was. Almost all the acid and metals have been removed and fish can now
live in streams where before they didnt have a chance. Moter Nature does all the work
there are no pumps or electricty needed to make this system work. What I have read
the only maintance needed is to replace the limestone in the main settling pond once
every 5 years, and in the other ponds once every 20 years.