Clean Up of Lackawanna River Begins With $1 Million State Investment, Blake Says

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna), Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) and Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich (D-Lackawanna) today announced a historically significant $1 million investment by the commonwealth to begin the cleanup of the Lackawanna River.

The outlay, approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority under Act 13 of 2012, means Susquehanna Mining Solutions LLC will be able to secure land in Duryea Borough near the Old Forge borehole

“The Old Forge borehole in the Lackawanna River continues to be the most toxic and damaging source of pollution in the watersheds of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna rivers,” Blake said in announcing CFA’s approval of the project. “Several past attempts to mobilize the necessary resources and the commitment to correct this environmental calamity have fallen short.

“Current efforts, however, supported by an impressive partnership of for-profit, non-profit and scientific stakeholders holds promise to finally solve this problem. It is proper and necessary for the state to advance this effort. I am glad to join my colleagues in announcing this state support for Susquehanna Mining Solutions,” Blake said.

Iron oxide from the Old Forge borehole, which was drilled in 1962 to release water that had pooled in underground mines, has turned the Lackawanna River orange. Because of the pollution, the river is the largest polluter of the Chesapeake Bay.

The $1 million CFA investment will advance a plan that will lead to the construction of a facility to treat the acid mine water.

“It is past time that the commonwealth and our community leaders strategize a solution to clean the Lackawanna River. This effort will result in a significant improvement to the water quality of the Susquehanna River through the Wyoming Valley, continuing to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Rep. Mike Carroll.

“Too often we take clean water for granted, but with cooperation like this we can truly guarantee clean water not only here but for those downstream today and for generations to come. This is a perfect example of how business and government can partner to build a better Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich.

The mine pool reportedly can hold as much water as Lake Wallenpaupack, which is 13 miles long and, on average, 30-feet deep.

Blake, Carroll and Kavulich, along with stakeholders, intend to highlight the specifics of the plan to improve the Lackawanna River in the near future.