CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Northeast Natural Energy announced Thursday that it has partnered with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection(WVDEP) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service(USDA-NRCS) to operate and maintain a water
treatment system designed to treat acid mine drainage in the lower portion of Deckers Creek in Monongalia County.
Construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in October, 2021, with the facility projected to
begin treatment in 2022.
The system will treat acid mine drainage originating from an underground coal mine, known as the Richard Mine, which has severely degraded the lower section of Deckers Creek for nearly a century.
Upon completion of the project, WVDEP expects the water quality in the lower five miles of Deckers Creek will allow for a rejuvenated ecosystem along the entire stream.
“This is a project our company and our employees are passionate about,” said Mike John, Founder and CEO of Northeast Natural Energy, a natural gas exploration company headquartered in Charleston, with operations in north central West Virginia.
“Deckers Creek is a West Virginia treasure. To be able to play a part in bringing it back to life is something we are extremely proud of. Like others who have worked to clean up Deckers Creek, we want to be able to help clean up the past, while building a bright future in our state,” John said.
While numerous land reclamation projects and passive treatment systems have been completed within the watershed, the volume of acid mine drainage currently discharged from the Richard Mine has continued to degrade the lower section of Deckers Creek.
“Acid mine drainage is a major concern across West Virginia and especially in Deckers Creek, and we have devoted countless labor hours to addressing this issue,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary, Harold Ward. “We are grateful to partner with NNE and the NRCS to help achieve this goal and this innovative treatment system will ensure that Deckers Creek is restored and preserved for future generations.”
The treatment system will be located outside of Morgantown. The system, will utilize high calcium hydrated lime, which will be added to the acid mine drainage within the facility. After mixing, the metals will separate from the water in one or multiple clarifiers. The clean water then will be discharged back into Deckers Creek.
“These partnerships are vital to the conservation of West Virginia’s abundant natural resources, and we are dedicated to funding projects that utilize the strength of these partnerships,” said Jon Bourdon, NRCS State Conservationist of West Virginia. “With this effort, we hope to restore Deckers Creek so that it can become a better asset to the community and an enhancement to the Rail Trail. It’s been decades since the water in Deckers Creek could support aquatic life and we hope to change that with this project,” Bourden added.