In Pennsylvania, coal has been mined for over 200 years. The first known commercial mine was opened in 1761 on Coal Hill, which is now known as Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh. While coal has fueled our economy, heated our homes, and provided countless kilowatt-hours of electricity, historical mining activities have left a legacy of scarred landscapes and polluted streams. An estimated 4,000 miles of streams (more than any other State) have been degraded by abandoned mine drainage (AMD). In many instances, metal precipitates have coated the bottom of streams destroying the habit of the macroinvertebrates (“stream bugs”) that are so extremely important in the aquatic food chain. Only the most tolerant of species are able to survive with some streams being designated as “dead”.
Within the last 15 years, government agencies, watershed groups, nonprofits, academic institutions, and private industry have developed and implemented environmentally friendly systems to treat these abandoned mine discharges in a cost effective manner. The installation of passive treatment systems has resulted in turning streams that had been lifeless for decades to healthy aquatic habitats capable of supporting a great diversity of reproducing fish populations. Many of these passive systems remove literally tons of metals before the drainage from abandoned mine sites enter our streams. The accumulation of these metal solids has the potential of being an asset. The question is, “What can we do with the metal precipitates?”
Clean Creek Products
Clean Creek Products (CCP) recovers iron that precipitates from acid mine drainage and manganese which precipitates on limestone. Our approach is to develop markets for these “by-products” of passive systems. The recovery of these metals has focused us on using them as pigments. Please check our raw materials page for more details.
Clean Creek Pottery
Our locally-made hand thrown pottery has glazes using these recovered minerals as a colorant. Your purchase of this “green technology” glazed pottery will contribute to CCP’s continued efforts to treat AMD and keep our streams and rivers clean. Thank you for your support!