ASKAM BOREHOLE AMD TREATMENT SYSTEM
2014 • Hanover Township, Luzerne County, PA
When the original Askam Borehole collapsed in 2008, the US Office of Surface Mining (OSM) drilled two new boreholes to discharge water from underground mine pools. Unfortunately, their location bypassed the Dundee Road Constructed Wetlands. An oxidizer-based treatment system was proposed to handle the discharge in a smaller space.
August 2018 | Enhancements to system completed, which include additional aeration of water near boreholes and installation of valve to facilitate future sludge removal.
July 2016 | EC receives $85,000 through PA DCED’s AMD Abatement & Treatment Program for enhancements to the Askam system. The monies will also create a trust fund for the system’s operation and maintenance.
October 2015 – March 2016 | High water levels continue – ranging from 4,000 gpm to 9,000 gpm – which are seasonally atypical.
March 2015 | Removeable barrier constructed at outlet, which allows settling pond to hold an additional 183,000 gallons of water, and increasing holding time by 26 minutes.
February – March 2015 | Water flow from boreholes is uneven, ranging from 2,000 gpm t0 11,000 gpm.
December 2014 | Water flow reaches 3,000 gpm. Oxidizers are turned on and water sampling begins.
July 2014 | System tested and is operational; however, because of low flow, it is turned off.
June 2014 | Electrical connection to generators established.
April 2014 | Pond and spillway construction completed. Construction of oxidizer pad started.
February 2014 | Revised plan submitted to PA DEP, which includes removal of piping, reinforcement of side walls, and addition of a concrete structure to stabilize oxidizer.
December 2013 | Work suspended, as on-site groundwater and soil conditions conflict with design plans.
November 2013 | Clearing, grubbing, and excavation of site begins.
September – October 2013 | Bids accepted and contract executed with lowest qualified bidder.
August 2013 | EC solicits bids for earthwork required as part of the Askam treatment system. Purchase order placed for Maelstrom Oxidizer®.
July 2013 | All permits for the Askam project are approved.
March – April 2012 | Permit applications are completed and submitted to agencies including PA DEP, USACE, and the Luzerne Conservation District.
February 2012 | Project is awarded a second Environmental Stewardship & Watershed Protection award from PA DEP for $250,000.
December 2011 | EC begins permitting process, which includes completing a wetland delineation report.
July 2011 | Preliminary cost estimate and schematics completed.
May 2011 | EC, PA DEP and PACD discuss permitting requirements for project.
August – September 2010 | EC meets with officials from US OSM at the Askam site. The project is awarded $100,000 as part of the Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program.
April 2010 | EC works with engineers from the PA Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) on system design.
March 2010 | PA DEP awards the Askam project $400,000 from the Environmental Stewardship & Watershed Protection Program.
July – November 2009 | EC, PA DEP, and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have multiple discussions about strategies and funding sources for a new AMD treatment system at Askam.
January 2008 | Askam borehole collapses. EC addresses immediate flooding issues in nearby residential area. US OSM takes over project, eventually drilling two new boreholes that bypass the Dundee wetland system.
$100,000 – US OSM, Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program
$650,000 – PA DEP, Environmental Stewardship & Watershed Protection Program
$339,000 – EC
$85,000 – PA DCED – AMD Abatement & Treatment Program
In-Kind Contributions – PACD
View of Nanticoke Creek and original treatment wetlands, across Dundee Road. The wetlands went offline when replacement boreholes bypassed the system.
One of the two new, stainless-steel boreholes installed at Askam.
Beginning of clearing activities, prior to excavation. Viscosity of AMD is visible, as is its tendency to coat everything.
Delineation of excavation area for pond.
View of excavation work from SR 29.
Preparation of concrete pad for oxidizer.
Placement of first oxidizer on concrete pad. SR 29 is in the background.
Installation of second oxidizer.
Turning on of Maelstrom Oxidizer. You can see how quickly the additional oxygen prompts iron fallout.
Another view of oxidizer aerating the creek's water.
Outlet end of the treatment system. As the water exits the settling pond, the planted cattails continue to filter the water and trap iron.
EC performs a variety of testing on the Askam system. Here, EPCAMR staff sample the depth of iron precipitate at the bottom of the pond.
Looking at Askam treatment system from SR 29.