Construction of the $26 million-dollar Blacklick Creek treatment plant, a PA Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation project, began in fall of 2022 and is slated to be completed in 2024. The highly complex project includes purchase of approximately 35 acres of land, construction of miles of pipelines, development of extraction, mine drainage injection wells, and sludge injection wells in addition to plant construction. Tetra Tech Inc., was awarded the design contract and the plant is being constructed by HRI, Inc.
Operation of the treatment plant will eliminate three abandoned mine discharges: the Commercial No. 16 (Red Mill) discharge, the three boreholes drilled into the Vinton No. 6 mine pool located in the middle of North Branch Blacklick Creek and the Wehrum Mine shaft discharge. Water from the Commercial No.16 discharge will be gravity feed into the Vinton #6 mine through a borehole. Water from the Vinton No. 6 mine pool and water from the Wehrum mine pool will also be pumped to the treatment plant. The treatment plant will be capable of treating up to 7.2 million gallons per day. Eliminating these discharges will significantly improve water quality for approximately 25 miles of Blacklick Creek from Vintondale down to the confluence with Two Lick Creek by removing toxic levels of iron, aluminum and acidity from the stream.
BCWA has long advocated for the construction of the Blacklick Plant which is expected to restore healthy aquatic communities to a large segment of the watershed which has long supported very limited life.