Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD)
Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) is sometimes also called Acid Mine Drainage. This source of water pollution comes from historic coal and clay mines in our area. In the mining process exposed a mineral called pyrite, also called “fool’s gold”, to the air and water. The pyrite reacted to form acid. This acid leached metals from the surrounding soil and then flowed into our streams. These metals include iron (orange color seen in streams), aluminum (white, or blueish color), and manganese (rarely seen in a solid form, when it is it appears black). Streams that have been polluted by AMD generally have little fish or other aquatic life, and are stained with the metals that accumulate on the rocks.
Historic mining left other scars to the land, including abandoned strip mines where no trees or vegetation can grow and refuse piles (also called boney, spoil, or gob piles) though out our area. These features are dangerous, and create more pollution that then enters our waterways.
While historic coal mining left our land scarred and our water polluted, dedicated volunteers in the CCWA have partnered with professionals to bring life back to these streams. Through reclamation and water treatment there is hope that Clearfield Creek will soon be a robust fishery for all to enjoy!