Pennsylvania Water Science Center



Chuck Cravotta


The Stonycreek River and Little Conemaugh River Acid Mine Drainage Study


The quality of water in the Stonycreek and Little Conemaugh Rivers (Ohio River Basin), which drain parts of Somerset and Cambria Counties, Pa., has been severely degraded by AMD from abandoned bituminous coal mines. A watershed-wide inventory and evaluation of the locations, quality, and flow rates of discharges are needed to determine appropriate remedial actions and priorities.


USGS-WRD is working with the Somerset Conservation District, with matching funds from the Federal-State Cooperative Program.


During April 1992-November 1994, a synoptic survey was conducted; 270 coal-mine discharges were located, sampled, and ranked (prioritized) with respect to their loading capacity on the receiving stream. A prioritization index also was established for all mine discharges in six subbasins of the Stonycreek River Basin that were moderately to severely affected by AMD. In addition to the synoptic survey of mine discharges in the watershed, 37 stream-water sites were sampled during base-flow conditions. The following data were entered into a GIS data base for the Stonycreek River watershed: topography, geology, hydrography, drainage basin boundaries, land use, special protection waters, wetlands, State game lands, municipal boundaries, roads, and water quality for streams and discharges. The final report "Effects of coal-mine discharges on the quality of the Stonycreek River and its tributaries, Somerset and Cambria Counties, Pennsylvania" was published as USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4133. The report presents the data that were collected during the study, prioritizes the 270 mine discharges with respect to their loading capacity on the receiving streams, and describes the effects of acidic mine drainage on the quality of water in the Stonycreek River and its tributaries.

Related Report

Assessment of Characteristics and Remedial Alternatives for Abandoned Mine Drainage: Case Study at Staple Bend Tunnel Unit of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Cambria County

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