Sewickley Creek Watershed Association
Lowber Abandoned Mine Water Treatment Site
The Marchand abandoned deep mine site , located northeast of Lowber in the lower watershed in Sewickley Township, was a former coal and coke processing facility. With the closing of this operation in the 1940s, a 1500 gpm discharge has been entering Sewickley Creek. This discharge added approximately 600,000 pounds of dissolved iron to the creek each year.
The Sewickley Creek Watershed Association received DEP Growing Greener funds in 2001 and following to study, design, and construct a passive remediation project.
The passive treatment system, built in conjunction with Hedin Environmental and Iron Oxide Recovery, Inc., includes a series of aeration ponds and constructed wetlands. The goal of this system was to reduce iron levels by 90 percent as they leave the treatment facility. A secondary goal was the salvage of the iron oxide as a raw material pigment for utilization in paints, dyes, and stains.
The Passive treatment system has been successfully completed. (Iron oxide levels of the discharge have dropped from 70 ppm to 1ppm after passage through the treatment facility). A ribbon cutting ceremony was conducted in October 2007.
As water quality has improved, swans and other waterfowl have take up residence.
Education and Recreation
The Lowber Abandoned Minewater Treatment Site, which was once a mine, is now an environmental education site, a walking trail, a wildlife viewing area, and a geo-caching site. The site is currently home to a boat launch, the Lewis Stout Memorial Trail, and a pavilion., all of which are open to the public.
Click the map below to learn more about our Lowber AMD Site
The Lowber Canoe and Kayak Launch
The Lewis Stout Memorial Trail
This site is also the home of the annual Lowber Family Field Day. This event partners with local school districts to teach children about mine drainage and restoration. Environmental and nature stations include the history of the site, demonstrations of water testing, plant sampling methods, microbiology, and kayak and water safety.