Glasgow treatment

Beginning in 1998 the Glasgow Treatment system was built by the C&K coal company to treat a discharge from its mine. In 2004 the company went bankrupt, and  CCWA took over the system, which was not properly treating the water. In 2009 CCWA renovated the system which now discharges water which contains no iron or aluminum.

This passive treatment system is located about 1.5 miles east of the village of Glasgow, adjacent to PA 253 where it crosses Muddy Run in northern Cambria County. The treatment system was constructed and operated by C&K Coal Co. (Pit 431) from about 1998 until 2004, when C&K declared bankruptcy. The site treats a very bad flow of acid mine drainage from a large abandoned surface mine to the southeast. Typical flow into the system is 40-200 gal/min with 150 mg/L iron, 50-140 mg/L aluminum, 150-200 mg/L manganese, pH 3.3-3.8, and acidity 800 mg/L as CaCO3. This acid drainage is a major source of the contamination affecting many miles of Muddy Run. The system consists of two large vertical flow ponds (SAPS) and extensive wetland channels, plus a large limestone bed built to remove manganese (see map below). During periods of high flow, the passive system was inadequate, and C&K utilized caustic in several additional ponds to supplement the passive system.

After the bankruptcy of C&K, CCWA volunteers inspected the system and flushed ponds.  A preliminary evaluation in 2005 recommended excavation of SAPS 2 to determine the cause. This recommendation was accomplished under another TAG grant in 2007. The main cause of plugging was accumulation of many inches of red mud and clay on top of the compost layer. Also, the compost layer was compacted and the limestone layer was partly cemented. The compost and limestone layers were highly variable in thickness, and much smaller than the pond dimensions. It was recommended that the two vertical flow ponds be rebuilt.

A grant of $174,000 was received from the state bond forfeiture funds in 2008 for rebuilding the system. In 2009, the renovation was designed by Hedin Environmental, and in July 2009, Smith Excavating and Contracting of Renovo started construction, finishing in November 2009.   Iron precipitate was removed from both ponds, a new underdrain and limestone layer was added to SAP 2, and new compost-limestone layers were added to both ponds. Flow through the ponds started in December 2009.   Since then the system has been producing net alkaline water with negligible iron and manganese.

    Maintenance and sampling of the system was taken over by the bond forfeiture program in 2010.   In addition, experiments on manganese and iron removal have been conducted by a local business.   The system continues to release good water.

In 2015, CWA collaborated with DEP on the monitoring of the Glasglow system, which continues to treat well.

VFP #2 when partly drained for “autopsy”.
Map of the Glasgow Treatment system.
Trench in VFP #2 showing layer of orange iron oxide precipitate overlying compost and limestone.
Closeup view of trench wall showing impermeable iron oxide layer, black compacted compost, and limestone bed.