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The Bennett Branch watershed is forested
and mountainous with deep valleys. Water
quality in the main stem of Bennett Branch
now supports a viable sport fishery.

Stock:Taking Pennsylvania’s DEP
Reclaims Polluted Waters

A few years ago, locals who Community members of all ages took part in a trout stocking day as part of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat
Commission’s Cooperative Nursery Program.
deigned to dip in the Bennett
Branch of the Sinnemahoning In January 2006, PADEP selected CEC to discharge modeling,” said Eric Cavazza,
Creek would emerge from conduct an alternatives analysis, which Bureau Director for Abandoned Mine
the water a shade of orange included developing a comprehensive Reclamation for PADEP and who oversaw
they’d all come to know. This water quality and flow assessment of the design and construction of the treatment
stretch of water in north central Bennett Branch and an assessment of the plant. “Their plan allowed us to look at
Pennsylvania had been polluted impacts that a chemical water treatment individual discharges and model the
with acid mine drainage (AMD) plant would have on the watershed. “This impact of the cleanup. CEC did a nice job of
for more than 100 years. assessment included sampling and testing collecting data and using existing data to
fully measured flows from numerous mine convince us that some discharges could be
Pennsylvania attempted to abate these AMD discharges to determine which were critical avoided. The modeling approach was a big
issues for decades. What finally opened the for collection and treatment,” said Douglas positive for us.”
floodgates was a comprehensive stream Clark, a principal with CEC.
restoration project beginning in 2004 and In July 2006, CEC partnered with Veolia
led by the Pennsylvania Department of “When CEC submitted for Phase I, they Water Technologies for Phase II. CEC
Environmental Protection (PADEP). This indicated they would do stream and compiled and assessed water quality and
full-scale commitment would help reclaim
multiple abandoned mined land sites and Continued on page 2
miles of impacted waters.

Abating the mine drainage impacts within
the Bennett Branch of the Sinnemahoning
Creek, a tributary to the West Branch of
the Susquehanna River, would remedy
numerous other impacted waters. Plus,
the watershed was 70% state-owned land
(game lands, state forests). Tourism already
was on the rise due to a growing Rocky
Mountain elk herd, but the missing piece
was the water. There was zero aquatic life.
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