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Earth Conservancy Receives Grant for Hanover Twp. Project

August 5, 2008

By Coulter Jones, The Citizens’ Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Aug. 5–HANOVER TWP. — A new filtration system will soon help in cleaning an acid mine drainage area in this township, as a $178,000 federal grant was announced for the project Monday.

Earth Conservancy was awarded a $178,524 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help clean iron out of drainage water in the Espy Run brownfield site, which is part of the Nanticoke Creek Watershed. U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, who helped secure the funding, spoke of the importance of the project during a news conference Monday.

“It’s progress,” Kanjorski said. “It’s an opportunity for us to use a new technology.”

Kanjorski was joined by Earth Conservancy Director Mike Dziak at a news conference Monday morning at the Franklin Bank reclamations site — a 13.82-acre area the nonprofit group is converting into residential use.

The Nanticoke Creek watershed feeds the Susquehanna River Drainage Basin. Water from the brownfield, or old coal mine area in Espy Run, is filled with iron concentrations after it passes through the brownfield area. The iron level is still high for the Susquehanna River. This reclamation project by Earth Conservancy started about 15 years ago and began with creating wetlands to filter the water. When Earth Conservancy first proposed using wetlands to help filter contaminated water, people said it wouldn’t work, Kanjorski said. Now, the practice of using wetlands to filter water is common, he said.

“This is the way nature has been doing it for millions of years,” Kanjorski said. “There’s no reason man can’t duplicate it.”

With the grant money Earth Conservancy will purchase an oxidizer for the wetlands area in Espy Run. The oxidizer adds oxygen to the water, which flows through it and filters out the iron in shorter amount of space than the wetlands naturally would.

The grant money provides 80 percent of the funding for the project. Earth Conservancy provides 20 percent, or about $45,000.

“Earth Conservancy appreciates receiving this grant funding from the EPA for this important project that will allow us to improve and enhance our existing wetland efforts to remediate acid mine drainage from the Nanticoke Creek Watershed,” Dziak said in a news release.

cjones@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2110

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Citizens’ Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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