OSM Provides Grant to Flight 93 Memorial to Prevent Mine-Related Pollution, Improve Site
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OSM Provides Grant to Flight 93 Memorial to Prevent Mine-Related Pollution, Improve Site

About 400-thousand people each
year visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, which marks the site where passengers and
crew successfully fought terrorists — preventing an even greater tragedy on September 11, 2001.
Despite its place in history, the site holds one surprise for many people. Reporter: Did you have any idea that this
was a former coal mine site? Visitor: No. I knew there were a lot of mines
around here, but as far as this goes? Reporter: But you, on the other hand?
Visitor: Oh, I knew it was a coal mine site. Reporter: Because?
Visitor: Because I’m a heavy equipment operator for a coal company.
(off camera) You could tell by looking around, but if you’re
not a coal miner, a strip miner, you wouldn’t know. Voiceover: In fact, most of the site is dominated
by decades of surface and underground mining, now well on its way to full reclamation. But
on the day of the attack, the mine owner had completed about half of a five-year period
of required reclamation. Malcolm Crittenden: After the crash, the National
Park Service came in and wanted to create a memorial, but the whole property was owned
by PBS. The families of Flight 93 stepped in and said, hey, we’ll buy the property
from the mining company, PBS. And PBS said, we’ll take the money from the sale and put
it into a trust to take care of this pump well water that is currently coming out at
the memorial and causing a pollutional problem at the impact site. Voiceover: Flight 93’s fuselage fell near
a closed underground mine that was filled with water, contaminated with iron and manganese
that was leaking into surrounding areas. The company had already installed both passive
and active cleaning systems, but there were problems. Brent Means: Once the plane crashed, that
changed the game dramatically because no longer could we have a mining company operating a
treatment system on this site because it was now going to become a national memorial. Voiceover: Because of the memorial’s significance,
local, state, and federal officials — and the Families of Flight 93 — wanted to keep
the treatment areas to a minimum, but also effective in protecting the site from polluted
water. Means: We had to figure out a way to treat
the water, but we couldn’t do it with all the expense associated with their treatment
system. And it worked fairly well, but it still wasn’t achieving the desired result. Voiceover: To fulfill the conflicting needs
took more than a year of study, which determined two things; the site would benefit from enhancing
the pumping system by directing the minewater against rocks. The resulting aeration helps
break the polluting iron away from the water, and allow it to settle. But something else
was needed. Means: Additional ponds were not going to
do the job. What we had to do was create a wetland environment.
Means: (off camera) Plants do a great job of making the iron stick to the plants…and
remove itself from the water. Voiceover: To create the wetland area, the
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has provided a 312,000 dollar grant, which
will provide for construction during fall and winter 2012. The project will take about
8 months to complete. But it will eventually provide another more visible enhancement to
the memorial. Currently, visitors have only the most basic facilities for sanitation. Voiceover: The designers of the project believe
that if all goes as planned, the cleaner water will be sufficiently pure to use in the memorial’s
rest areas, and also for irrigation needs at the nearby tree planting and mine reclamation
projects. For the US Department of the Interior and the Office of Surface Mining, I’m Chris

One Comment

  • US Department of the Interior

    Science & Engineering at Shanksville 9/11 Memorial Site

    On Tuesday, September 10, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will join the Families of Flight 93, Flight 93 National Memorial superintendent Jeff Reinbold, and other officials and partners to break ground on the memorial's new visitor center complex.

    But for today, let's take a look at an engineering project at the Shanksville crash site, without which, the memorial would not be what it is.

    The Shanksville site sits on the partially reclaimed land of a former strip mine, complete with acid mine drainage water.  Standard water-cleanup techniques would be noisy, conflicting with the contemplative nature of the memorial.

    In October 2012, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement made available more than $300,000 to the Flight 93 National Memorial.  The grant provides a way to help clean up acid mine drainage water from an underground coal mine near the crash site, while also providing for a better visiting experience for those who tour the memorial.

    For now, let's check out the video.  Tomorrow, we break ground on the new visitor center complex, thanks in part to this innovative cleanup technique.

    #shanksville   #sept11   #sep11   #september11   #science   #engineering   #osm   #reclamation   #water     #techtuesday  

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