MATHER PROJECT (Gob Pile Cleanup and Land Reclamation), Department of Economic Development, Greene County, Pennsylvania

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Mather & Crucible Mine "GOB Pile" Cleanup & Land Reclamation
Department of Economic Development

Crystal Simmons, IDA Director
49 South Washington Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5300 / Fax: 724-852-2944
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m., Monday—Friday

In 1913, Crucible Mine was only the second large commercial coal mine to establish in the county, with nearby Dilworth Mine being the first, according to G. Wayne Smith's "History of Greene County, PA." At its peak in 1953, the mine employed 903 miners and produced 1.3 million tons of coal. Crucible Mine closed in 1961 and throughout its 49-year life the mine extracted 36.5 million tons of Pittsburgh seam coal.

Abandoned coal-refuse piles continue to dot the landscape of eastern Greene County, legacies of a mining industry that operated for years without regulations to ensure proper cleanup of the sites once mining ended. ~~ But those eyesores are on their way out.

Mather Recovery Systems LLC is in the process of reclaiming the 50-acre Mather coal-refuse pile with the help of a state Growing Greener grant and began removing fine particles of coal from the site's coal slurry pond in May 1999.

April 2005, the Crucible Refuse Dump is began its process of being reclaimed. This project also should be lauded because it is expected to be completed without a subsidy from the taxpayers. A 25-cent-per-ton royalty on coal removed from the pile will, in fact, be paid by the company to the industrial development authority, which is overseeing the project for the county.

MATHER GOB PILE, "The Next Step":
July 12, 2006 — Greene County Commissioners and the Department of Economic Development and the Conservation District along with members of the Mather community, came together for the purpose of receiving an update on further advancement of the reclamation of the "Gob Pile." Thirty-eight people were in attendance and twenty-seven were Mather residents or representative for Morgan Township. Commissioner Pam Snyder, herself a resident of Morgan Township, opened the meeting with a welcome and recognized that it was critical to accomplish this project correctly for future generations. She prompted the community to ask questions of the Department of Enviornmental Protection (DEP) and to listen closely as the discussion of the new manufactured soils concept was introducted by Alcoa Corporation. This proposed new soils project will accommodate the use of approximately two-thousand railroad ties that exist on the adjourning property. Joe Simatic, President of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), defined their role in this process form the beginning. DEP and Alcoa suggested that the soil reclamation process could be completed by October 2007. Residents asked a wide range of questions that dealt with past, current, and future issued related to this project. Questions were answered by DEP, Tom Kovalchuk, Martin NIiverth of the Greene County Conservation District, Dr. F. Of the Alcoa Corporation, and Darlene Urban Carrett, Greene County Department of Economic Development. Also in attendance was Representative William DeWeese and key staff of Senator Barry Stout's office.

August 17, 2006 — Company resumes work at Mather coal refuse site: Mather Recovery Systems Inc. has returned to the Mather coal refuse site to complete some of the reclamation work and prepare the site for winter.

  • April 20, 2015: Reclamation of Mather coal refuse dump moves forward — click here for News Release. (Observer-Reporter, 4/20/15 ed)

  • January 25, 2015: Creat a plan for Mather coal site — click here for News Release (Observer-Reporter, 1/25/15 ed)

  • January 21, 2015: GCIDA to consider Mather coal refuse dump resue — click here for News Release (Observer-Reporter, 1/21/15 ed)

  • March 17, 2011: Greene County Industrial Development Authority granted approval Wednesday (March 16, 2011) to a company to conduct drilling at the Mather coal refuse dump to test for recoverable waste coal. Click here for complete news article.

  • February 17, 2011: Work to begin on removing railroad ties from the Mather Coal Refuse Dump reclamation site — click here for news article.

  • August 17, 2016: Company resumes work at Mather coal refuse site for News Release — click here for News Release (Observer-Reporter, 8/17/06 ed)

  • June 27, 2005: Reclamation of Mather gob pile nearly complete — click here for News Release (Herald-Standard, 6/27/05 ed)

Refuse sites, or slate dumps as they are commonly called, are the result of coal cleaning or disposal of roof fall material. Coal cleaning technology has evolved to a point where coal that was once discarded can now be recovered. There are many ways of recovering the coal, but the two most common are screening and washing. Mather Recovery Systems utilizes both of these processes to reclaim the coal within the refuse.

Screening is a mechanical method of separating the refuse from the coal by size. In other words, small coal particles are in a specific size fraction of the total volume. By passing the refuse material across a screening, the process of separating takes place. The screens are available in an almost infinite number of configurations. Generally, the screens are of two types. One is a square screen where the openings in the screen are in the shape of a square. These screens are called square screens and resemble a pattern such as a window screen. The second type of screen has rectangle opening and are referred to by their length and width dimensions. Typically, the initial screen will remove the unusable material, such as large rocks, pieces of rail, mine timbers, and other extraneous material. When the refuse falls to the next screen it is then classified to a size where it is anticipated the coal particles are.

Washing is a method of separating coal from refuse utilizing the principles of specific gravities. When the specific gravity of a material is less than the medium it is in, the material floats. For example, the specific gravity of water is 1.00 and the specific gravity of wood is 0.80. Therefore the wood floats on the water. The same principle applies to coal. If the specific gravity of coal is 1.45, and were placed in a medium with a specific gravity of 1.50, the coal will float. The material with a specific gravity greater than 1.50 will sink and separated from the coal. This material is now known as reject because it has been rejected as coal.

Workers need only to plant grass and shrubbery to complete the reclamation of the old Crucible Mine, which has been closed since the 1960's.

A contractor hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection started demolishing buildings at the long-standing brownfield in the summer 2004. Kurtyka Enterprises of Rices Landing completed the work December 2004, but the project's final step will have to wait until spring 2005.

January 2005: The DEP has been controlling the 29-acre parcel for the past six months or so , but once the project is complete, the land will be returned to the county. CONSOL Energy deeded the riverfront property to Greene County in 2001 as part of the county's property acquisition for Greene River Trail, a bicycle and walking trail along the Monongahela River.
Plans call for the trail to extend through the property as well as through the adjacent Dilworth Mine site, a recently closed mine that is currently being reclaimed by CONSOL Energy.

According to Betsy Mallison, spokeswoman for the DEP, workers razed five buildings and backfilled three mine shafts. A five-story coal wash building, another five-story warehouse, a three-story office building, a three-story shower house and a clarifier are among the structures that were demolished. Cost to complete this work was $212,969. It was funded through the federal Mine Reclamation Fund, as well as various state sources. Two smaller buildings, which are still in fairly decent shape, will remain because of historical purposes. A large pile of coal waste also is near the parcel. Greene County Industrial Development Authority is leading plans to eliminate the gob pile.

April 2005: HARRISBURG Two grants have been awarded by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to help develop master plans for three reclaimed mining properties in Greene County. Greene County Industrial Development Authority was awarded a $14,100 grant under the Community Conservation Partnerships Program to prepare a master site plan for the reclaimed Mather coal refuse pile in Morgan Township. A second $38,600 grant will allow Greene County to prepare a master site plan for the Crucible Mine site and a feasibility study for the Dilworth Mine site in Cumberland Township. The money will be combined with other grants being pursued through the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Previous state grants totaling more than $4 million have been awarded for cleanup work at the site. Mather Recovery Inc., the company reclaiming the 50-acre site, expects the project to be done by June 30, 2005. A group of county and local officials and residents met recently to develop plans or the site. One proposed use for the property is for recreation. This could include development of ball fields and soccer fields, picnic areas, walking trails, a roller or ice skating arena, a swimming pool or skateboard park. Another possible use for part of the site is for a historic area, which could include a coal mining museum or a replica of a company town. Other ideas considered include retail and commercial development and various educational activities, such as a computer technology center or a library.

Reclamation work was recently completed at the former Crucible Mine property. A contractor hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection had started demolishing buildings at the long-standing brownfield last summer.

CONSOL Energy deeded the 29-acre riverfront property to the county in 2001, as part of the county's property acquisition for Greene River Trail, a bicycle and walking trail along the Monongahela River.

NEW CAMP & CONFERENCE CENTER in CARMICHAELS — at the old Dilworth Mine Portal:
  • May 2010 — The 18,000 square foot building, originally the Dilworth Mine Portal, was recently donated to Children's Bible Ministries, Inc. Multiple improvements have been made to the facility located about three miles from Carmichaels on 26.5 acres of ground that was also donated by Consolidated Coal (CONSOL) to the nonprofit organization. The renovations included removing a wall for to make a dish room, enlarging another area to become a gynmasium, and the shower rooms.

    The name of the building is Cornerstone Ministry Center (CMC), and the facility will be used for not only children, but adults, couples, and seniors together for camps, retreats, conferences, and other forms of community fellowship. CMC expects to host its first camp in July 2010. The facility will be able to sleep 92 children at a time and will be equipped with a cafeteria, bymnasium, chapel and infirmary before the first camp opens.

    Future planning includes the addition of a swimming pool, a baseball field, ropes course, more cabins and a conference center on the hill. In the interim, the kids will be transported to the nearby Wana B Park pool in Carmichaels and other local recreational facilities.

  • March 2012 Update — PREPARING FOR THE WORST — "Former mine site becomes more than just an emergency shelter". Click here for news article.

For general information, please contact the Information Services at 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399.
County Office Building, 93 E. High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370

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