The National Mine Land Reclamation Center (NMLRC) at West Virginia University has scheduled a ground-breaking ceremony for 10 a.m. Monday, June 17, for an innovative, passive acid mine drainage treatment system on a tributary of the Cheat Riverthe Middle Fork of Greens Run in Preston County.

Media coverage of the event is welcome. It will include a tour of the site and a description of the design and its implications on the restoration of the Cheat River Watershed.

The project is a joint effort of the NMLRC and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to solve the acid mine drainage problem in the Cheat Riverone of the longest free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States. The river supports a multi-million dollar-per-year commercial whitewater industry in West Virginia.

The project site on the Middle Fork of Greens Run is located about two miles northwest of Kingwood and consists of an unreclaimed high wall, an acidic pit lake and surrounding vegetated spoil material. The site contains nearly 300 tons of acid per year to the Middle Fork of Greens Run. The water also contains high concentrations of iron, aluminum and manganese.

Based on their past experience with acid mine drainage treatment, the NMLRC , WVDEP and Triad Engineering determined that a low cost, alternative passive treatment is needed for the high aluminum environment of the site. The system being installed involves the use of steel slag leachbeds, slag-lined limestone channels and a kisch slag treatment basin to neutralize acid mine drainage at the site.

Funding for the project, $117,165, is provided by the WVDEP through funds allocated by the U.S. EPA s 319 Program. A cost share of $76,928 is provided by WVU s National Mine Land Reclamation Center and Triad Engineering.

The projects objective is to improve the water quality in the Middle Fork of Greens Run from a pH averaging 3.0 to a pH above 5.5.