September 11, 2009

SENATORS CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE FUNDING TO HELP DOCUMENT ACID MINE DRAINAGE PROBLEM IN GARRETT COUNTY

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) announced today that Garrett County has been awarded a $20,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to commission a study to document the economic benefits of the acid mine drainage remediation program.

 

Acid mine drainage occurs when mineral deposits that contain sulfides are uncovered during the mining process.   The contaminated water enters streams and rivers, often killing aquatic life.

 

 "Garrett County is one of Western Maryland's most pristine areas and I strongly support interventions to address the ongoing consequences of deep mines that were abandoned long ago," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.   "I support funding that will provide the resources that are necessary to restore and preserve our environment."

 

"I'm pleased Garrett County will now have federal funding to study the effects of the acid mine drainage remediation program," Senator Mikulski said. "Monitoring how effective this program has been is an important step in finding a long-term solution to the problem."

 

 In 1993, the Maryland Department of the Environment, Bureau of Mines initiated a temporary acid mine drainage remediation program on approximately 32 sites covering 82 miles of streams and rivers that were no longer able to support aquatic life. The remediation program used lime to adjust the PH levels of the water.   While the program has reduced acidity and allowed the aquatic life, including native trout, to rebound, it is not seen as a long-term solution to the problem. This study would greatly aid in finding a permanent solution.