ESPY RUN RECONSTRUCTION
In Progress • City of Nanticoke & Hanover Township, Luzerne County, PA
In 2001, funded by a PADEP Growing Greener grant awarded to EC, Dr. Kenneth Klemow of Wilkes University performed a one-year assessment of the topography, water quality, and biological health of all the waterways within the Nanticoke Creek watershed. He found one of the most severely impacted waterways was Espy Run, a tributary to the Nanticoke Creek. The stream disappeared underground upon encountering Bliss Bank – over 200 acres of legacy minelands that had been deep-mined, strip-mined, and then used as a spoils dump. When Espy Run did resurface, it had little to no flow, AMD contamination, and poor vegetative and biological health. These findings led to a larger initiative on which EC partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), PADEP, and PADEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) to develop a plan for comprehensive restoration of the Nanticoke Creek watershed. The result was Section 206 – Ecosystem Restoration: Nanticoke Creek Watershed, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Detailed Project Report and Integrated Environmental Assessment (2005).
USACE concurred with Klemow’s analysis, warning of a “complete loss of the stream ecosystem” and significant contamination of water quality due to mining-related impairments. To mitigate the damage, USACE recommended reclamation of mine-scarred areas and reconstruction of waterways. These activities would aid recovery of the watershed by 1.) abating sediment and AMD loads; 2.) restoring natural habitat; 3.) improving public safety; and 4.) reclaiming land for productive use, including recreation. The Espy Run Stream Restoration is one step in this process. Reconstructing the missing segment will prevent the stream’s headwaters from infiltrating underground into the mine pools, which USACE believes will reduce AMD discharges downstream. Furthermore, a riparian forest buffer is planned for the majority of the new channel, improving habitat and creating a wildlife corridor to the top of Wilkes-Barre Mountain.
October 2020 | POZ Engineering is awarded contract for Segment F.
September 2020 | EC solicits proposals for engineering and permitting services for Segment F.
July 2020 | EC is awarded $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup award from the US EPA to reconstruct the final 1,000 feet of Espy Run (Segment F).
May 2019 | A contract is executed with James T. O’Hara, Inc., for the Bliss III project, including Segments B, C, D, and E of Espy Run.
April 2019 | EC publicly advertises for construction services for restoration of Segments B, C, D, and E, as part of its work on and around Bliss Bank, Phase III.
January 2019 | EC awarded $500,000 Growing Greener award from PA DEP for reconstruction of Segment E of Espy Run (750 feet).
November 2018 | Modifications for Segment A are approved. RFP for construction services is advertised. Rutledge Excavating is contracted as the lowest qualified bidder.
August 2018 | EC and Reilly submit design changes for Segment A to US EPA for approval. US EPA awards EC a third $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup award for reconstruction of Segment C (1,000 feet). EC is also awarded $3 million grant by the AML Pilot Program from PADEP BAMR, part of which will support the restoration of Espy Run, Segment D
July 2018 | RFP advertised for engineering services on Bliss Bank site, including reconstruction of several segments of Espy Run. Contract awarded to George M. Albert, LLC.
April 2018 | PADEP requests modifications to Segment A design.
October 2017 | Contract executed with George M. Albert, LLC, for Segment B design services.
September 2017 | RFP advertised for design and permitting services for Segment B.
August 2017 | EC is awarded a second $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup award from the US EPA to reconstruct an additional 1,000 feet of Espy Run (Segment B).
January 2017 – March 2018 | Initial design work completed and permitting process begins.
September – October 2016 | Bids are received. A contract for services is executed with Reilly Associates.
August 2016 | EC publicly advertises for design and permitting services for Segment A.
June 2016 | EC is awarded $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup award from the US EPA for reconstruction of 1,000 feet of Espy Run (Segment A). The project will begin near the intersection of Espy Street and Middle Road, and will progress southwards to the stream’s original headwaters at the Hanover Reservoir.
$1,100,000 – US EPA, Brownfields Cleanup
$500,000 – PADEP, Growing Greener
$1,135,000 – PADEP BAMR, AML Pilot Program
$300,000 – EC
View of Espy Run, prior to stream reconstruction. As shown, stream is narrow and overgrown, and flow is sporadic.
Another view of the channel, near Espy Street.
After clearing and grubbing, equipment is mobilized. Wooden planking was required due to the wet soil.
Excavation of the channel.
Completed segment of stream channel, with liner and rip-rap. Channel has been expanded to approximately 12'. This segment, which is alongside a wetlands, was designed with a shallow depth to maintain ecological functioning of the area.
View of channel looking towards Espy Street.
Work on Segment B, with concrete drop structures in place. These help dissipate energy/water velocity as it moves downstream.
Aerial view of Segment B.
Staked section of Segment C.