ALBRIGHT, W.Va – Many community members made their way to the T&T Treatment Facility in Albright to celebrate the Cheat River Muddy Creek Watershed Restoration Project on Friday.
The lower 3.4 miles of the Muddy Creek was devastated by acid mine drainage from mine blowouts nearly 25 years ago.
“I was kayaking on Muddy Creek here, the day the blowout happened, and looked up and saw the bright orange water coming over the hillside,” said Dave Bassage, a founder of the Friends of the Cheat.
Since this day, the Friends of the Cheat was formed and an organization called ‘the River of Promise’ focused on cleaning up the river.
“Which got together industry, and academia, and federal, and state agencies, non-profit groups like ourselves, to all pull our resources to make it happen. When we use the terminology ‘River of Promise,’ it had two meanings. One, it was going to take a commitment from everybody involved, and two, the river had promise, it had potential. And now because that commitment has been honored, the river is reaching that potential,” said Bassage.
The watershed restoration project was made possible through a partnership between Southwestern Energy and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
The T&T Treatment Facility is able to treat 6 million gallons of acid mine drainage per day.
“Any kind of cleanup on the Cheat is a good thing, on the cheat watershed. I mean, they have been working forever for whatever, 25 years , to bring all of the money together and all of the people and get everyone on board. And it’s just been super successful,” said Peggy Ping, member of the River of Promise.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has been able to restore the creek to a natural state and maintain an optimum PH balance.