Old Forge Bore Hole - Engineering Study

The Lackawanna River Conservation Association (LRCA) is pleased to announce the initiation of an engineering study of the Old Forge Bore Hole (OFBH), a significant point source of water pollution in the Lower Lackawanna River.  The OFBH may discharge approximately 100 million gallons of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) everyday into the Lackawanna River near the Union Street Bridge in the Connell’s Patch section of Old Forge.  (Underground Mine Pool)

The mine water is estimated to contain over 3000 pounds per day of Iron Oxide.  This material reacts with oxygen dissolved in river water and forms a sludge that colors the cobble bed of the river and the shoreline with an orange and yellow staining.  In addition there are several hundred pounds per day of manganese and aluminum oxides and sulfide compounds as well as trace amounts of zinc and copper.  These metallic compounds degrade the water and aquatic habitat of the Lower Lackawanna.  It has been called the most visible point source of water pollution in the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

We have two goals with this study.
First:  We are intending to generate engineering data about the volume of the discharge.  This data will support attainment of qualified Hydrologic Unit (QHU) status for the OFBH enabling the Pennsylvania DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) to prioritize the use of federal funds to assist with our community based clean-up efforts.

Second:  We will convene a stakeholders group of elected officials and property owners to gage interest in the development of a comprehensive plan to get the borehole cleaned up and explore the potential for a water resource based “Green” Business Park that could be developed in the area south of the borehole in Old Forge and Duryea.

Cleaning up the mine drainage pollution will need to involve the entire community.  There may not be enough federal funding available for the long-term treatment needed to get the iron and other metals out of the river.  We need to create private investment opportunities to maximize the range of clean up solutions.

Presently, there is no community supported plan for this part of Old Forge and Duryea that could facilitate public investment in adequate road and utility infrastructure.  Therefore the LRCA seeks to involve property owners, business interests, and local governments in finding a solution that will create employment and investment returns to this part of our valley.

We welcome the involvement of the public with this work to help create economic opportunities to further clean up the lower Lackawanna River corridor area in Old Forge and Duryea Boroughs and the area surrounding the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers.

This project is supported with funding from the Willary Foundation, the Lackawanna County LECOR Program and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.  The LRCA and The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) are also providing funding and in kind services to conduct this work.

We encourage your participation with us as we develop this work.

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