Klemow, Kenneth M.*, Charles A. Cravotta, Thomas Chesnick, Jeffrey J. Chaplin, Mark Taney, and Bradley Davis. 2000. EFFECTS OF ABANDONED MINE DRAINAGE ON STREAM WATER QUALITY IN THE SOUTHERN WYOMING VALLEY: A NEW PICTURE EMERGES. Contributed paper: Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting. Abstract: Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 73:163.
Streams in the southern Wyoming Valley of northeastern Pennsylvania have been degraded by mine runoff since the early 1900s. Several key indicators of mine-drainage pollution (pH, iron, sulfate, acidity) were examined for a one-year period in the early 1970s, as part of the Operation Scarlift assessment. Hydrology within the Valley changed significantly following the cessation of mining in the mid 1970s. Therefore, the degree to which the Scarlift findings accurately portray current conditions can be questioned. To that end, a collaborative study of water quality and flow rates was conducted within the Nanticoke and Newport Creek watersheds between 1992 and 1999. We found that Newport Creek is impacted by two major discharges that did not exist in the early 1970's, causing a significant change in surface flow patterns. Discharges within the Nanticoke Creek watershed are relatively similar to that observed during the Scarlift study. Water quality in those creeks shows less severe impact today than in the 1970s, though some stream segments in the Newport Creek watershed that lacked flow in the 1970s currently have high flows of mine-impacted water. Significant degradation still exists in both watersheds, especially in terms of dissolved iron and sulfate. Implications of the current findings to remediation strategies will be discussed.