Mar 24

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When a wet winter can be bad for water quality

Turtle Creek (image via Jakec/wikimedia)

For more than 100 years, coal was mined near Turtle Creek in western Pennsylvania. The river became polluted.

“But that began to improve through the 1970s,” says Gary Smith of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. He says regulations and restoration projects led to cleaner water. Then last year a very wet winter filled abandoned mines with water, which picked up heavy metals in the mines and caused acid mine drainage into the creek.

As climate change brings more precipitation to the state, abandoned coal mines could become a greater threat.

Smith cautions, “Those mines are still there, so it can happen again, particularly if we have a very wet winter.”


Hear Gary Smith explain the history of acid mine drainage in Turtle Creek – and how that has impacted the ability of the Fish and Boat Commission to stock trout for recreational anglers. :

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/stormwater-management/turtle-creek/