May 15, 2009

Sewickley Creek in Westmoreland County and Bob Hedin’s Iron Oxide Recovery, Inc. receive the 2008 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence.
This installment of the Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation Video Diaries by Andy McAllister, Watershed Coordinator, presents the award ceremony honoring the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association for all their hard work and success.
The two organizations became partners in 1999 when company owner Robert Hedin approached the association about supporting iron oxide recovery experiments at the abandoned Marchand Mine site in Lowber, Westmoreland County. The mine has discharged thousands of gallons-per-minute of iron-polluted water to Sewickley Creek for decades.
The collaboration has resulted in the Lowber site becoming Pennsylvania's first and only commercially successful resource recovery project. So far, the project has resulted in:
-- The recovery and recycling of 4,000 tons of wet iron sludge that would have otherwise been landfilled, avoiding at least $150,000 in disposal costs;
-- Successful treatment of 1,400-2,200 gallons per minute of mine water containing 70-85 milligrams per liter of iron;
-- Retention of about 400 tons of iron solids that otherwise would have ended up in Sewickley Creek and the Youghiogheny River;
-- Compliance of Sewickley Creek in Lowber (downstream of the system) with the DEP's in-stream iron limit of 1.5 milligrams per liter for the first time in at least 60 years; and
-- Successful incorporation of a 1.6-acre wetland into the system and creation of 13 acres of open water and wetland habitat that has already been colonized by fish, amphibians and aquatic insects, and has become a refuge for water fowl.
This treatment system can be maintained through eight hours of labor per month. Iron Oxide Recovery has taken on that responsibility and has committed to maintaining the system in the future. The company will fund its long-term maintenance with revenue produced by sludge recovery.

May 13, 2009

Green Building Benefits Report. A comprehensive plan to make our nation’s buildings more efficient could save enough energy by 2030 to power all of the nation’s cars, homes and businesses for a year and a half, while saving Americans more than $500 billion, according to a new report by PennEnvironment.
In this video David Masur, PennEnvironment, provides an overview of the new report.
Also watch Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) as he talks about the benefits of green building techniques.
Click here for the full announcement.

May 10, 2009

When They Drill, Who Pays The Bill? Webinar May 11 & 13. On May 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and May 13 from noon to 1:00 p.m., the PA Land Trust Association is hosting an online webinar on the impacts of natural gas drilling and information on the proposed natural gas severance tax.
The proposed natural gas severance tax could provide millions of dollars to land, water and wildlife conservation and to local communities. Over the next two months the Governor and legislature will be considering enactment of this tax.
This webinar will provide participants with the information they need to work to boost conservation funding and reinvest in Pennsylvania’s natural resources.
If we fail to establish a severance tax to invest in our natural resources as PA’s gas boom progresses, we will have missed an historic opportunity to advance conservation. We will have missed the opportunity to ensure that our descendants will receive a natural wealth equal to our own.
To register and reserve your place, visit the May 11 webinar page or the May 13 webinar page.
For more background, visit the webinar webpage.

May 2, 2009

State Police HQ Rain Garden. Andy Gavin, Chief of the Restoration Section at the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, talks about the installation of a rain garden project at the State Police Headquarters Building in Harrisburg. The project is part of several in the Paxton Creek Watershed aimed at encouraging stormwater infiltration, reducing stormwater and nutrient runoff. Homeowners and farmers can use the same technique on water from downspouts around their buildings. Visit the Paxton Creek Stormwater Project webpage for more information.