This summer, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Reclamation earned the 2015 Mid-Continent Regional Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) for their outstanding work in eliminating the abandoned Minnehaha slurry pond in an area of abandoned mine land in Sullivan County. This reward recognizes the elimination of health, safety and environmental problems in abandoned mine lands and is rightfully deserved by this ambitious project.
This project was one of the largest and most extensive projects that the Division of Reclamation has tackled in its over 30 years of work. To begin, the team addressed a weakened levee at the abandoned mine. The levee was holding back a pond of slurry, a hazardous mix of coal and water. By repairing this levee, a disasterous blackwater flood that could harm both property and people in the Sullivan County area was avoided.
The repaired levee allowed the team to then safely work on removing this abandoned slurry pond. A large sulfate-reducing bioreactor was built at the site, which treated and released over six million gallons of water through a newly designed system of sloping hills and a stream. By removing this slurry pond, this project succeeded in eliminating some of the waste caused from coal mining that is often neglected.
For more information, please check out Indiana DNR’s page on the project and award.
DNR Reclamation Earns National Award, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Status of Reforested Mine Sites in S.W. Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Abandoned Mine Land Safety, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Information for Citizens, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement