Scrubgrass AMD Treatment Site

AMD:  Reflecting conditions left behind from a by-gone era, like mancharacteristic color of abandoned mine drainage is created by oxidation of iron pyrite in the watery of the streams in our region, Scott Township's Scrubgrass Run, which drains into Chartiers Creek, is polluted by abandoned coal mine drainage, commonly referred to as AMD.

MITIGATION:  The Scrubgrass Run AMD Project mitigates this pollution passively using a collection pond.  The orange sediment recovered from the site, referred to as "yellow-boy"  is recycled and used for pigment in paints and dyes. 

USES:   Conwater from Scrubgrass Run flows into the remediation pond, where the heavy oxidized particles settle out of the still waterservancy board member Keith Breitenstein has dyed our conservancy T-shirts with this retrieved orange iron oxide precipitate from the site.   Adding the  orange iron pigment to cement yields a lasting warm orange color when pouring sidewalks and steps or mortaring walls and repointing bricks - quite an improvement over the usual boring grey.  Robin Anthony came up with this idea after noticing the red iron oxide mortar in her turn of the century Crafton home.

FUNDING:  The original grant for the Scrubgrass Run Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) project was obtained in 1995 from the DEP.  The grant was for $62,000.  Matching  funds for the project was obtained from Scott Township, the Office of Surface Mining, The Scott Conservancy, and the Heinz Endowments.   

Then conservancy president Mary Elm accepts award from the Allegheny County Conservation District for the Scrubgrass Run AMD pondIn a1996 awards ceremony, the Scott Conservancy was named Environmental Group of the Year for 1996 by the Allegheny County Conservation District for its AMD passive reclamation project on Scrubgrass Run.  The Award recognized the conservancy's joint effort with the Chartiers Valley School District and the township to clean up Scott's Scrubgrass Run watershed, polluted by abandoned coal mine drainage.  Scrubgrass Run flows into Chartiers Creek.

In 1999 The Scott Conservancy obtained an additional grant for $50,000 from the DEP to install a mechanical aeration system to increase the efficiency of the procedure at the Scrubgrass Run AMD site.

The Scott Conservancy was awarded an additional grant of $100,000 from the EPA for further remediation at the Scrubgrass site.  Work began in the Spring of 2001.

MONITORING:  Don McGuirk, one of our board members, is seeking volunteers to help with a Scrubgrass Run stream monitoring project.  Scrubgrass Run is the stream whose waters are being cleansed of precipitates by our AMD project.Volunteers at the AMD Treatment Site  

VOLUNTEERS:  Although the Scrubgrass Run Abandoned Mine Drainage Project was conceived and constructed by engineering professionals, the Scott Conservancy would also like to thank the volunteers who donated their time to this project, for those who help spread the word about our efforts to reduce the abandoned mine drainage problem, and those who educate the public by leading hikes through our facilities.   


Panthers Visit Scrubgrass Abandoned Mine Drainage Ponds 
by Betsy Harbin

There are many different forms of wildlife that prowl the woods in Scott Township such as deer, foxes and wild turkeys, but on April 10, 2010 a new form of wild life was seen visiting the area...Panthers! Not to worry however, these Panthers were very tame and friendly and sported knapsacks, pencils, notebooks and were more interested in attacking rocks than attacking humans. The University of Pittsburgh's Environmental Geology Lab class lead by Professor Charles Jones visited the AMD site on Old Scrubgrass Rd as part of their field trip to gain hands on experience concerning lessons they had been learning in the classroom during the semester about various geological events. 

The field trip started with a visit to Fedex Drive in Robinson where the students took notes, studied, discussed and explored the rock formations along the hill side leading to the Fedex complex. Next the band of cavorting Panthers traveled to the Wal-Mart shopping center where they examined the exposed Pittsburgh coal seam located behind the store and learned about the formation of coal. 

Afterwards the next stop was the AMD pond on Old Scrubgrass Rd where the students not only studied the effects of acid mine drainage and its effects on the environment, but Professor Jones also taught them about the various techniques used to help reduce those negative effects such as the passive system used here. 

They also prowled the creek and studied the rocks as well in search of fossils and learned about stream flows, ground water flow and flood plains. 

University of Pittsburgh Professor Charles Jones explains the passive mine drainage system to a group of his Environmental Geology Lab students.

With red tinged shoes the students boarded their bus and headed off to the final leg of their journey to Mt Washington where they had a bird's eye view of the city of Pittsburgh and the three rivers. With notes in hand the Geology students examined the flow of the rivers, the formations of the hills and the terrain of the area. The field trip was a huge success and a fun learning experience for the University of Pittsburgh's Geology Lab class. They were able incorporate the theories and knowledge they had learned in the classroom in a real life setting and were able to see how Geological events form and affect the earth. 

As a student in this particular Environmental Geology Lab class I was excited to learn that our field trip included a visit to the AMD pond on Old Scrubgrass Rd.  We had a great time laughing, joking and learning with our fellow classmates and the professor as we explored the creek for interesting looking fossils and rocks. While we gathered interesting rocks from the creek, our Professor helped to clean up the creek when he rescued a very nice football and soccer ball that had washed down in the area during the last rain. 

Environmental Geology Lab students from Pitt learn about the passive mine drainage system at Scrubgrass

Professor Jones had reminded us that we may not always remember the things we learned in the classroom later on in life, but the knowledge and experience we gain from field trips such as this would stay with us forever, and he was right. I have gained a new appreciation of the various rock formations in the area and even learned more about the AMD pond that I see every day. 

We were not the first Pitt students to visit the AMD pond on Old Scrubgrass Rd., and we will not be the last, so do not be afraid if in the future you happen to see a band of marauding Panthers in the Scott Township area armed with notebooks and pencils; you never know if one of them just might be someone you know. 




Traffic Circle at Greentree & Cochran

The Scott Conservancy maintains the Traffic Island at the intersection of Greentree and Cochran Roads. 

Work continues on the traffic island. If you have driven by "the island" you may have noticed the work done on the flower beds and that the grass is being cut more regularly.   

A drip system has been installed to make it easy to water plantings, using $2000 in grant money from Pennsylvania's Dept. of Community and Economic Development, matched by Scott Township. 

The glass ball has been replaced, a victim of last winter's storm damage, and the plantings have been refreshed.

The flower beds at the Greentree and Cochran Road Traffic Circle are highly visible to motorists traveling this busy intersection.  Conservancy member and Traffic Island Chair Mary Pitzer organizes the conservancy's effort to maintains these plantings.  What a visible way to showcase The Scott Conservancy and help to promote environmental awareness.  

Cleaning up the traffic island

With some extra help from Scott Township with  the grass cutting and the garden planning done by   Mary Pitzer, the look of the island has noticeably improved. 

Flower garden at the traffic island

Bishop Landscaping, owned by Ron Bishop, a Scott Township resident, removed the weeds and rocks on the island, added needed top soil and planted new grass.


Volunteers help plant flowers in the spring and keep those flower beds weeded, mulched and looking beautiful throughout the growing season.  weeding the islandA drip system, installed using $2000 in grant money from Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development which was then matched by Scott Township, makes plantings easy to water. Storm damage from the winter had to be fixed, and the glass ball replaced.  But the flower beds are once again looking beautiful, thanks to Mary's stewardship of this project.  It takes a lot of work, so many hands  make light work in the spirit of group effort.  Please help us preserve this communityVolunteers asset.  If you have volunteered your time, you can really feel the sense of accomplishment  as you drive by and see the visible result of YOUR handiwork




Spring Cleanups 


The Great PA Cleanup every spring around Earth Day

Spring is the time of year to join your friends and neighbors, fellow conservancy members, community volunteers and other Pennsylvanians across the state for the Great PA Clean-upThe cleanup really improves our community's appearance.  About 40 volunteers turned out to collect bagloads of trash this past spring.

Lend a hand.  Help remove litter that has accumulated along our major roadways.  They are Scott's "front door" and after the long winter are in need of sprucing up! 

Help Scott Township - come to the Municipal Building on the corner of Lindsay Road and Greentree Road on Earth Day weekend.  Volunteers will be directed to various roadways in the township in need of cleanup.

Help the Scott Conservancy clean up the Kane Woods on Earth Day - meet at the Whiskey Point Trailhead, at the newly constructed shelter, and park in the lot located on the corner of Main Street and Scrubgrass Road across the street from the Veterans Bridge.  

Earth Day is always a good time to stage a cleanup.  And in Scott Township we always have a lot to clean up - from trash along our major roadways to debris on the hiking trails in the Kane Woods Nature Area.  

The conservancy can use a hand for clearing debris and picking up trash on our Kane Woods property. With a $5,000 grant from the PA Dept of Community & Economic Development to help restore our land, the Kane Woods is becoming even more attractive for public use.

The annual spring cleanup is an opportunity to do some much needed trail care and maintenance.

Earth Day  cleanups in your neighborhood are a great learning experience for children, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.   Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, and sturdy shoes. 

We encourage volunteers to bring tools such as rakes, wheelbarrows, shovels, pickaxes, saws, loppers and hand clippers.  If you can, bring a bucket for the collection of sharp objects. 

The ubiquitous tire

Lend a hand!

trash bags, 
safety vests, 
and water 
will be provided.

Gathering wood at Whiskey Point Trailhead



Master Site Plan Completed

The master site plan for the Kane Woods Nature Area and the property adjacent to Scott Park owned by Scott Township has finally been completed. The plan took approximately two years to complete and cost $87,000. Fifty per-cent of the cost was paid for by a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The conservancy's portion of the cost was met by site planning paid for by the Baptist Homes. 

The conservancy would like to thank Bob Gamble, Pat Falderoff, Bill Luxner, Don McGuirk, Jean Miewald, Jane Sorcan, and Gary Zyra for volunteering to serve on the Master Site Plan Committee. They worked very hard and met many times over the last two years to complete the project. We also want to thank all those you came to the public meetings that were held to gather input for the plan.

The master site plan, formally titled Trail Feasibility Study, will be our guide as we continue to develop the Kane Woods Nature Area. The plan was completed by Civil and Environmental Consultants and contains many recommendations for improvements to the area. Included in the plan is an estimated cost for the recommended improvements.  Anyone wanting to view the plan should contact Jane Sorcan 



The Scott Conservancy

October 17, 2011

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