Mine Drainage Program

Mine Drainage Program

From the colonial iron industry of the mid-1700s to the steel industry of the 1800s and electricity generation of today, coal mining has been the primary fuel source of our modern world.

But for hundreds of years, progress through the coal industry rarely stopped to think about environmental consequences. Once coal from one site was depleted, operators would simply move to the next one. Nearly a quarter of a million mine lands were abandoned in Pennsylvania leaving environmental and safety hazards behind.

More than 5,500 miles of waterways in PA are polluted by abandoned mine discharges of sulfuric acid and/or dissolved iron.

Bear Run Phase 1 Treatment (before/after)

The Mine Drainage program involves assessment and planning initiatives that lead to design and construction of abandoned mine drainage (AMD) treatment systems and abandoned mine land (AML) restoration projects throughout the Basin.

Credit: Blossburg Borough

This program is focused on activities that lead to the restoration of impaired stream miles that are on the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP's) Integrated List of Impaired Waters and lands that are listed on PADEP's AML Inventory.

For more information on the Commission’s mine drainage activities, explore the following links. The Mine Drainage Portal provides data compiled as part of the Commission's efforts to assess and track impacts to water quality from mine drainage in the Basin. The Mine Drainage section of the Reports Library contains details on specific projects the Commission has completed since the 1990s.

And for even more information on mining history, funding, and restoration efforts in Pennsylvania, please visit our partners: