Speakers and Presentations in no particular order. Please see the Program Page for their scheduled time slots.

Chris Abruzzo, Secretary, PA Department of Environmental Protection: KEYNOTE ADDRESS

E. Christopher Abruzzo was nominated by Governor Tom Corbett to serve as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on September 20, 2013.  In his role as Acting Secretary, Abruzzo made it a priority to improve transparency at the agency and to work more closely with the public and environmental stakeholders in the development of policy and regulations. In addition, he led the Department through a reorganization designed to better serve both internal and external partners on matters concerning environmental education, energy, and environmental justice.  As Acting Secretary, Abruzzo worked to unify the regional offices and the central office to promote consistency in the decision making and permitting processes. Further, he emphasized DEP’s role as both regulators and problem-solvers to protect the environment and to help the regulated community achieve environmental compliance.

Eric Cavazza, PA DEP, “An Analysis of Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Response Program – Pennsylvania’s Alternative to the Federal Office of Surface Mining’s (OSM) Emergency Program”

In October of 2010, the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) ceased implementing the Federal Emergency Program to address suddenly occurring, high-priority, abandoned mine land (AML) problems in Pennsylvania.  In response to the cessation of the Emergency Program by OSM, Pennsylvania chose to not accept delegation of the Emergency Program from OSM but rather to set up an Accelerated Response Program to address the AML problems traditionally dealt with by OSM.

Bob Hedin, “Effective Passive Treatment of Coal Mine Drainage”

Contaminated mine drainage on abandoned coal mine sites can be treated by passive or active treatment techniques. Passive treatment is less costly than active treatment, but its reliability is often questioned. This paper presents a simple design approach that has been used to design passive treatment systems in Pennsylvania for the past 20 years. Four systems that demonstrate commonly utilized passive technologies are described and long-term data are presented. The systems have provided highly reliable and effective treatment for 3-18 years. The data demonstrate that properly designed, constructed, and maintained passive treatment systems are a highly cost-effective solution for contaminated mine discharges on AML sites.

Umar Mycka, “Observing A Familiar Stranger: Poison Ivy”

The goal of this program is to share new observations and understandings gained through careful study of both the literature of poison ivy and live plants in the field. We hope to be able to articulate this knowledge in a format that is easily understandable and readily transferable to interested individuals. The ultimate goal of this talk is to help reduce the instance of exposure to poison ivy and the rash it so easily causes.

Mike Dziak, “AMD Treatment Alternatives and Reclamation of Mine Scarred Lands”

Earth Conservancy (EC) was formed in 1992 as a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) corporation, with a mission to reclaim and re-utilize former coal company-owned lands in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, through partnerships with government agencies, businesses and educational institutions. Dziak will enumerate the many successes of the organization.

Shawn Rummel, “Recovery of Coldwater Ecosystems Following Treatment of Abandoned Mine Drainage:  Looking Beyond Water Quality to Determine Successful Treatment”

This project aims to provide a better understanding of how post-treatment monitoring should be conducted in order to ensure that both the water quality and biological communities are responding positively to the treatment.  Preliminary results have shown improvements in water quality following treatment of AMD as well as a shift in the benthic macroinvertebrate community from pollution tolerant taxa to pollution sensitive taxa.

Amy Wolfe, “A Decade of Progress for the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative”

This presentation will discuss the accomplishments of the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative over the past ten years as made through the efforts of TU and member agencies and organizations of the West Branch Susquehanna River Task Force and West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition, as well as the needs and challenges that remain on the horizon as work continues toward the recovery of the West Branch Susquehanna watershed.

Amy Wolfe, “15 Years of Assessment, Abatement, and Recovery in the Lower Kettle Creek Watershed: What’s Next?”

Since the inception of the partnership between TU and KCWA in 1998 through TU’s national Kettle Creek Home Rivers Initiative, numerous assessments (including hydrogeological studies and airborne remote sensing surveys) were conducted, and nine passive treatment systems, a land reclamation project, and a mine pool stabilization project have been completed.

Gary Anderson, ARIPPA, Ebensburg Power,“23 Years of Abandoned Mine Reclamation”

This presentation will describe how our plant operates and will summarize the impact AML reclamation has had on the local environment and the communities in Revloc and Nanty Glo, and the expected impact of the next AML reclamation project

Shawn Simmers, Cambria Cogen, “The Synergies Between CFB Power Generation and Waste Coal Pile Reclamation”

This presentation will link power generation with the beneficial use of ash and waste coal pile removal/reclamation for Cambria Cogen and Colver Power Project.

Lukus Monette, OSMRE, “Little Conemaugh Watershed Modeling Project”

GIS modeling in the Little Conemaugh River watershed work towards treating multiple mine-pool discharges for acid mine drainage (AMD).

Jeff Polenik, Robindale Energy, “Seanor GFCC – A Positive Impact”

Robindale Energy Services, Inc. entered into a Government Financed Construction Contract (GFCC) and contributed to the process of watershed improvements.

Lois Uranowski, OSMRE, “Sustainable Mining and Reclamation: Is this possible?”

The outcome from applying geomorphic reclamation techniques coupled with natural stream design and ecological reclamation greatly improve our chance of more than just restoring the mining-disturbed land but to elevate that land to a sustainable ecosystem.

Jonathan M. Dietz and Timothy Gourley, Dietz-Gourley Consulting, LLC “Rushton Mine AMD Treatment Plant: Cost Saving & Performance Enhancing Modifications”

The presentation will summarize evaluation efforts along with actual field results from the system evaluation and from the full-scale modifications of the Rushton AMD Treatment Plant.

Cliff Denhom, Stream Restoration Inc., “Datashed Overview and Q&A”

An overview of Datashed will be provided to explain how the free website can be used to manage watershed restoration efforts including storing water quality data and project information.

Cara Santelli, “Microorganisms Contributing to Manganese Remediation in Passive Treatment Technologies”

A diverse community of bacteria, fungi, and algae can promote Mn oxide precipitation in passive remediation systems in PA. Many of the microbes in the treatment beds are common soil organisms that likely came from the surrounding, uncontaminated environment but are capable of existing in metal-rich waters.

Art Rose, Penn State University, “Performance of 25 Passive Treatment Systems in Pennsylvania”

In part one of this three part series, Rose presents a survey by PA DEP in 2009-2010, a disturbing number of publically funded passive AMD treatment systems have “failed”. This presentation discusses what “failure” means, why it happens, and how to prevent it.

Brad Shultz, Skelly and Loy, “Broad Top Township Six Mile Run AMD Treatment & Waste Coal Reclamation Project”

For more than 30 years, Broad Top Township has worked to improve the quality of life for its citizens by addressing the negative environmental impacts related to Abandoned Mine Lands (AMLs) and Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD). Results in Six Mile Run are impressive.

Art Grguric of Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association, Bill Gongaware, O&M contractor for PA DEP, and Tim Danehy, BioMost “Operations and Maintenance Panel”

In this three part series, three speakers will present three different approaches to operations and maintenance of AMD treatment systems.  Learn how they deal with tough O&M issues.  In the last session, our O&M panel will take questions from the audience about the systems and methods they presented in previous sessions.

William D. Burgos, Bradley Kaley and Yizhi Sheng, Penn State University, “Bioreactors for low-pH Fe(II) oxidation also remove remarkable amounts of total Fe”

Low-pH Fe(II) oxidation influences the geochemistry of anoxic, Fe(II)-rich acid mine drainage (AMD). At many sites this is evidenced by the development of terraced iron formations (TIFs) formed via the oxidative precipitation of iron(III)-oxyhydroxysulfate minerals. In laboratory experiments using flow-through, continuously-stirred, chemostatic bioreactors, we measured GDM values ranging from 40 to 160 (g FeT d-1 m-2).

Joe Pizarchik, OSMRE, “OSMRE Perspective”

Joe Pizarchik is the Director of the OSMRE. In his previous position with PA DEP, he was one of the authors of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Good Samaritan Act. Mr. Pizarchik helped
develop Pennsylvania’s program for volunteers to clean up abandoned coal refuse sites and helped develop Pennsylvania’s program for mine operators to establish trust funds as a means
of meeting their financial obligation to ensure funds are available to perpetually treat the discharges caused by their mining. Joe will provide an update on policies related to AMR.

Greg Conrad, IMCC, “Interstate Mining Compact Commission”

The Interstate Mining Compact Commission, IMCC, is a multi-state governmental organization representing 24 mineral producing states. IMCC exercises several powers on behalf of member states, all of which are of a study, recommendatory or consultative nature providing a forum for interstate action and communication on
issues of concern to the member states. As executive Director, Mr. Conrad is responsible for overseeing legislative and regulatory issues for both coal and hardrock minerals, including surface mining and reclamation, mine waste, coal combustion by-products, identification and restoration of abandoned mine lands, financial assurance,
mine safety and health and surface and ground water quality and quantity.

 Edward A. Gerst, Penn State Harrisburg, “A Novel Approach to Use Biofuel Crop Plants to remediate AML in PA”

Link to Poster

The basis of our investigation is to observe the abilities of three biofuel crops’ (Miscanthus giganteus, Camelina sativa, and Panicum
virgatum) to phytoremediate marginal soils affected by coal refuse and/or acid mine drainage.

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