Lambert Run: A Watershed Scale Approach to Remediation

Track 4C: Water-Energy Nexus: Meeting Challenges and Finding Solutions
Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:00 am – 11:50 am

Jason Fillhart
Project Coordinator
West Virginia Water Research Institute

Lambert Run is a small tributary that drains directly into the West Fork River. The Lambert Run watershed is 8 square mile drainage located near the town of Spelter in Harrison County, West Virginia. It is a rural watershed that is mostly forested with some agriculture occurring within its reaches. Deep mining has taken place in the watershed since the 1950s. The bulk of the mining performed in the watershed was to extract the Pittsburgh coal seam; this seam is often known to produce deleterious Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) if left unchecked. Improper reclamation and/or abandoned mine lands have led to various sources of harmful mine drainage in the Lambert Run watershed. However, water chemistries of the mine discharge sources vary from acidic mine drainage to alkaline mine drainage. The Guardians of the West Fork (GWF) are the local watershed group with interest in Lambert Run; in 2003, they submitted the first approved watershed-based plan to the USEPA. The plan permitted the watershed group to pursue funding for passive treatment remediation of the mine discharges in the watershed. In 2004, a partnership between the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, West Virginia University – National Mine Land Reclamation Center (NMLRC), and the GWF started working towards restoration of multiple sites by installing passive treatment systems. Since 2004, there have been six passive systems installed in the Lambert Run watershed. The NMLRC and GWF are currently working to re-write the watershed-based plan. This plan will quantify the effectiveness of the treatment systems and recommend future considerations to improve the health of the watershed.