The Webster Mine, located in the town of Nanty Glo discharges an average of 450 gpm of highly acidic water, with high levels of sulfate and metals into Pergrin Run at its confluence with South Branch Blacklick Creek. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the development, design, and construction of a passive treatment system for the discharge. Discharge water is piped from the mine opening under Route 271 to the treatment system. The system consists of two 4-acre clay-lined vertical flow ponds of limestone and compost. Water from the ponds flow into a 2.3-acre wetland. The system is designed to neutralize the acidity, reduce sulfate and filter out the precipitated metals. Treated water then enters Pergrin Run at the confluence with South Branch Blacklick Creek.
The treatment system, built during the early learning curve about passive treatment systems, is currently not effective. PADEP evaluated the system and determined that redesigning and rebuilding the system may not be the best approach to addressing the Webster discharge. They are currently investigating the possibility of entering into an agreement with the owner of an active treatment plant nearby to treat Webster, which presents its own set of challenges.
Since the large refuse piles located in Revloc and Nanty Glow have been remined and reclaimed the South Branch supports aquatic life, including trout, downstream of Webster, but would be a much healthier stream without Webster’s considerable pollution load.
Reports, maps, photos, and water sampling results for Webster have been posted on the Datashed website at www.datashed.org.