POWHATAN - North American Coal is working with Crown Water Reclamation to clean the acid mine drainage that is currently held in containment ponds, so that the water can be discharged back into Captina Creek or the Ohio River.
Crown Water recently gave a tour and demonstration to North American Coal, members of the Environmental Protection Agency and State Sen. Lou Gentile and State Rep. Jack Cera.
North American Coal has been working with Crown Water Reclamation for several months to clean the water. North American Coal currently injects the AMD water into the abandoned mines after it is cleaned with hydrated lime.
"We draw water from the containment pond and have that stored in a 20,000 gallon holding tank, from that holding tank, we move that fluid into a machine and through a series of water filtering and cleaning technology," said Mike Bryant, CEO of Crown Water Reclamation. "The water is then discharged into holding tank number two, which is process water."
There are currently two ponds that hold the contaminated water.
The water is moved from the process water in tank two into tank three there is a Ph system that will balance the Ph levels in the water.
For the water to be discharged into the creeks or river, the water has to meet a certain Ph level. So far, Crown has met 8 out of the 10 EPA requirements. The next step is an air pollution test.
"Once we process through the water-cleaning unit, we raise the Ph by approximately one," said Bryant.
A sodium hydroxide solution is then added to adjust the solution so that it meets the guidelines.
According to Bryant, the finished water is effectively fresh water.
The technology for this system was created by Gary Stevenson, president of Proven Technologies.
"I think it is very forward thinking on the part of North American Coal to be exploring technology to reclaim this water," said Gentile. "We are trying to work with them, I just want to applaud their efforts. We built a good partnership between the private sector and the public sector here. Long- term we need to continue looking at this kind of technology so that we can reuse this water."
Another route that could possibly be explored is selling the water to the oil and gas industry for fracking.
"We are working closely with North American Coal to help them pursue this, we think that it is very forward thinking on their part ... We are learning a lot today about how we can reuse water here in Eastern Ohio, it is going to be good for the environment," said Gentile after receiving a tour of how the process works. "I just want to applaud North American for being proactive here."
North American Coal has yet to make a decision on whether or not they will go with Crown Water Reclamation. The trial plant, which is mobile, has been taken to Houston for repairs before the air pollution test.
Van Dyne can be reached at email@example.com.