Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New PADEP Guide Regarding Water Supply Replacement and Mine Subsidence

New PADEP Guide Regarding Water Supply Replacement and Mine Subsidence

Under Act 54, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) recently published a new homeowner’s Guide titled: “Water Supply Replacement and Subsidence Damage Repair”. The Guide reviews the basics of Act 54 and water supply notification within a mining area, potential water supply and subsidence impacts, and PADEP’s role in resolving damages. A copy of the new guide can be downloaded at the following link:

PA Guide to Water Supply Replacement Subsidence Damage Repair (Mining).

The document does not list the specific problems or specific water quality testing, but deals with issues related to water quality change, loss of capacity, and physical subsidence.   Our primary recommendations are as follows:

1. Obtain a copy of the PA Guide to Drinking Water Quality from the Keystone Clean Water Team.

2. Permit the agent or third party contractor to inspect your well and structure.  If you deny access, you may waive the assumed liability. 

3. You may want to have a separate Certified Water Quality Test and a Yield Test for Your Well.

4. At a minimum - For a mining Permit - Rock or Coal - we would recommend the following parameters:  pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, chloride, sulfate, alkalinity, acidity, iron, manganese, total hardness, total coliform, turbidity, color, surfactants, nitrate+nitrite, and odor.  (Additional testing may be needed based on site specific conditions and land-use- So seek the advice of an expert).

5. Maintain good records related to your well depth, pump setting, and original yield. 

6. Properly report your water usage planned usage.  The damages related to water quantity is a function of actual use and planned use and not an unlimited supply.  For example- If you well yielded 50 gpm and you only have a single family home, a decrease in the yield of the well to 10 gpm may not be considered a specific impact (unless it required expense to modify the system, lower the pump, or add storage.

7. The guidance document may not adequately address impacts to groundsource heating and cooling systems.  If these types of systems are used this information should be reported and documented.

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