Reclaiming Ohio’s land: ODNR commits to record number of abandoned mine land projects


COLUMBUS – A record $10 million in abandoned mine land reclamation projects will be ready for bid this summer in Ohio. Included in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ plans are 38 projects in 19 eastern and southeastern Ohio counties.

Terry Van Offeren, manager of the AML program for ODNR Division of Mineral Resources, said a beefed-up in-house design team and an increase in funding led to the most AML projects in Ohio in the last decade.

“This is the first time we’ve had a staff large enough to produce this many designs ready for bid and construction,” said Van Offeren. “We have done site analysis, designs are complete and we are ready to bid the jobs and get construction started.”

Abandoned mines in 19 eastern and southeastern Ohio counties are on the project bid list. Among the largest are a $1.4 million cleanup at the Rehoboth III coal refuse pile in Perry County and a $1 million strip mine restoration at the Nibert Road AML site in Gallia County. Strip mine reclamation and mine drainage improvements on three pieces of private property in Gallia and Meigs counties are expected to cost another $650,000.

Making it right.

The AML program reclaims areas disturbed by mining operations, primarily coal mining operations, that were not restored in accordance with today’s stringent reclamation requirements. Most of the projects predate those requirements.

An abandoned mine land inventory was done by ODNR, and according to the inventory, there is over $200 million worth of needed construction work in Ohio – not including the 1,300 miles of streams in Ohio that have had their water quality affected.

“(ODNR) determines the priority and estimated cost of each project. We consider whether it’s an environmental or public health problem,” said Van Offeren.

The Rehoboth III site was considered a priority, and construction has already begun at the site. The AML project consists of 300 acres that is being reclaimed in three phases.

“The first phase of reclamation graded, capped, resoiled, and revegetated the 70-acre coal refuse pile which had been eroding into the headwaters of Rush Creek since the mid-1960s,” said Bill Jonard, project manager.

Phase II.

The second phase focused on the 90 acres of work area and 5,400 feet of impacted stream and floodplain within the work area.

“The impact, was of course, the sedimentation of the fine and coarse coal refuse from the Phase I work area,” said Jonard. “Since the coal refuse pile had no vegetative cover it eroded and was transferred downstream, eliminating the stream channel through the site and creating flooding above the impact area and through the impacted area.”

During the second phase, the deposited refuse within the floodplain was graded out, and the refuse was covered with 6 inches of soil. Thirty-two acres of wetland pools were created to prevent erosion.

“Along with the pools, we also created 2,000 linear feet of new channels and resoiled and revegetated the corridors along these channels,” said Jonard.

Phase III.

The third phase will consist of work to approximately 15 acres of corridor areas in the floodplain along the Phase II channel along with grading spoil over some 40 acres of coal refuse and acid mine drainage ponds located within 100 acres of mined out area upslope of the floodplain.

“This will allow us to create positive drainage off the site along with minimizing the infiltration into the coal refuse which leads to acid mine drainage,” said Jonard.

Administered by the ODNR Division of Mineral Resources Management, Ohio’s AML program is funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior and state grants, as well as bond monies forfeited by former mine operators.

Funding the job.

Van Offeren said the state projects are funded through a a state severance tax on coal. These projects focus on environmental problems caused by mining prior to 1972. A federal severance tax on coal funds the grants from the U.S. Department of the Interior. These projects are directed at public health concerns caused by mining prior to 1977.

ODNR assumes the role of a mine operator through the forfeiture program. Mining operators at Hardy Coal in Belmont County, K&R D105 in Stark County and Ferris D-43 in Columbiana County went out of business and forfeited their reclamation bonds to the state.

(Reporter Annie Santoro can be reached at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or

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Perry County:

Rehoboth III – coal refuse clean up – $1,420,000

Blue Jay – seal two mine entries – $30,000

Corning – correct mine drainage and subsidence near a village park – $90,000

Teal – correct pot hole subsidence near town of Rehoboth – $40,000

Van Atta – subsidence prevention project in New Lexington neighborhood – $450,000

Harrison County:

Rumley – back fill dangerous high wall adjacent to state road – $500,000

Germano – back fill dangerous high wall adjacent to state road – $410,000

Noble County:

Ridgeland – reclamation of strip mine to prevent sedimentation and flooding – $450,000

Middleburg – reclamation of strip mine – $250,000

Enoch TR 292 – reclamation of strip mine – $430,000

Coshocton County:

Wills Creek – drainage correction to previously completed project to prevent flooding – $10,000

Muskingum County:

El Camino Drive – subsidence prevention in Zanesville neighborhood – $300,000

Gallia County:

Nibert Road – reclamation of strip mine – $1,000,000

Jones-Venoy properties – strip mine reclamation and mine drainage improvements – $650,000

Morgan County:

Marcoll Mine – open shaft to be sealed and deteriorating surface support structure demolished – $60,000

Columbiana County:

Salineville – seal nine mine entries – $28,000

Dixon property – intercept subsurface mine drainage affecting a home – $60,000

Ferris D-43 – reclamation of forfeited strip mine – $30,000

Jefferson County:

Applegate Road – correct landslide affecting township road – $157,000

Goat Hill Mine – correct three pot hole subsidence features – $45,000

Tuscarawas County:

Midvale Gob – extinguish burning coal refuse pile – $68,000

State Route 800 in Dennison – interception and conveyance of deep mine drainage to prevent highway flooding- $224,000

Farr property – correct acid mine drainage in Huff Run watershed- $195,000

Stark County:

Mahoney property – seal trash-filled mine shaft – $25,000

K&R D105 – reclamation of forfeited strip mine – $270,000

Trumbull County:

Vienna Shaft – stabilize water-filled mine shaft – $40,000

Meigs County:

East Second Street in Pomeroy – seal four mine opening and correct acid mine drainage affecting commercial structure – $40,000

Belmont County:

Webb – upgrade of existing under-drain system to intercept acid mine drainage near homes – $145,000

Crescent – eroding coal refuse pile to be reclaimed – $210,000

Lick Run – acid mine drainage (project in cooperation with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and ODNR Division of Wildlife) – $798,000

Hardy Coal – reclamation of forfeited strip mine – $240,000

Lawrence County:

Little Storms Creek – correction of flooding from mine sediment and stream restoration – $500,000

SEO Underground – interception of acid mine drainage affecting numerous structures – $50,000

Wayne County:

Hollow Ridge Road – subsidence prevention project in neighborhood with past problems – $350,000

Summit County:

Dover – clay mine reclamation on Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area – $200,000

Carroll County:

Linden – acid mine drainage abatement in Huff Run watershed – $320,000

Athens County:

Carbondale 2 – acid mine drainage abatement in cooperation with Raccoon Creek Improvement Committee to improve wetland – $368,000.

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