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Home » Post Congress Field Trip

Post Congress Field Trip

April 26 to 29, 2024

Tour guide: Brent Means
Cost: $US 875 per per­son
What do you get: The cost of the tour includes hotel accom­mo­da­tions for three nights (Fri­day, Sat­ur­day and Sun­day), and lunch for Sat, Sun, and Mon­day. The hotels offer a com­pli­men­ta­ry break­fast. The only extra cost you will be respon­si­ble for is for din­ner for all nights.

The WVTF and IMWA are excit­ed to offer a post-con­fer­ence tour that pro­vides a mix of cul­tur­al and min­ing sites in the heart of North­ern Appalachia’s bitu­mi­nous coal fields. The Appalachi­an region of the east­ern Unit­ed States is known for its rolling hills and vast coal deposits. The region remains a major coal pro­duc­er with some of the largest and most pro­duc­tive long­wall under­ground mines in the world. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the region is also plagued by aban­doned coal mine drainage that impairs over 8,000 miles (13,000 km) of streams. Over the past decade, Fed­er­al and State gov­ern­ments have ded­i­cat­ed hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to con­struct­ing and oper­at­ing large treat­ment sys­tems to reduce stream impair­ment, pro­mote aquat­ic recre­ation, and change the socio-eco­nom­ic con­di­tion of those who live in the water­sheds. The tour aims to pro­vide atten­dees with a per­spec­tive of both the region’s active coal min­ing indus­try by vis­it­ing a min­ing oper­a­tion and numer­ous mine pool pumps and treat­ment sys­tems to high­light our efforts to restore water­sheds impaired by his­tor­i­cal min­ing.

The tour starts by trav­el­ing to John­stown, Penn­syl­va­nia to vis­it the Flight 93 Nation­al Memo­r­i­al that com­mem­o­rates the crash of Unit­ed Air­lines Flight 93, which was one of the four air­craft hijacked dur­ing the ter­ror­ist attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 . You will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it a site that changed the course of his­to­ry in the Unit­ed States and affect­ed many world­wide. A less­er-known fact is Flight 93 crashed on an active coal mine site con­sist­ing of two under­ground mines and a sur­face mine. While the group will con­duct the tra­di­tion­al tour of the crash site and vis­i­tor cen­tre, we will also vis­it a 4,500 L/min treat­ment sys­tem that pumps cir­cum­neu­tral pH net alka­line mine water from the two under­ground mines to pro­tect the Memo­r­i­al grounds from an uncon­trolled dis­charge of pol­lut­ed mine water. Atten­dees will also vis­it a man­ganese removal bed on Memo­r­i­al grounds that uses pas­sive treat­ment tech­niques to bio­log­i­cal­ly pre­cip­i­tate man­ganese from mine water. Next, we will vis­it a 37,000 L/min mine drainage treat­ment sys­tem oper­at­ed by a coal com­pa­ny to dewa­ter and treat an aban­doned mine pool that, with­out pump­ing, floods their active under­ground min­ing oper­a­tions in the over­ly­ing coal seam. The treat­ment sys­tem has sev­er­al unique fea­tures includ­ing a high­ly inno­v­a­tive decar­bon­i­sa­tion sys­tem that reduces lime con­sump­tion by 60%, a grav­i­ty-dri­ven lime slak­ing sys­tem, the High-Den­si­ty Sludge process, and two 64-meter diam­e­ter con­ven­tion­al clar­i­fiers. The geo­chem­istry of the treat­ment process will be cov­ered in detail.

The fol­low­ing day will start by vis­it­ing an active coal prepa­ra­tion plant and coal waste dis­pos­al pile. Sev­er­al local under­ground coal mines trans­port coal to the prepa­ra­tion plant, where advanced process­es are used to process 2.1 Mt of raw coal from sul­fide min­er­als and rock annu­al­ly. The cleaned coal is trans­port­ed by a con­vey­er to a train load-out facil­i­ty and the waste mate­ri­als are dis­posed in a syn­thet­i­cal­ly lined and capped waste pile. A leachate drain sys­tem keeps the pile dewa­tered and directs con­cen­trat­ed acid mine drainage to a treat­ment sys­tem, which should not be required after final recla­ma­tion is employed. The final stop of the sec­ond day is to vis­it a brand new 26,497 L/min coal mine drainage treat­ment sys­tem that pumps and treats sev­er­al mine pools to restore a large water­shed for recre­ation­al use. Tour atten­dees will be impressed by the mine pool collection/control sys­tem and mod­ern treat­ment tech­niques used to treat the drainage and man­age the restora­tion of the water­shed.

The last day of the tour will start in the heart of down­town Pitts­burgh with a pri­vate tour of the Nation­al Aviary giv­en by IMWA’s very own Bob Klein­mann . Dr. Klein­mann is an avid bird­er and vol­un­teers at the Aviary so we will receive a per­son­al­ized tour of this out­stand­ing facil­i­ty from our respect­ed col­league. The final tour site is a treat­ment sys­tem that pumps 7,500 L/min of fer­rug­i­nous net alka­line mine water to a recent­ly con­struct­ed treat­ment sys­tem that uses hydro­gen per­ox­ide to oxi­dize and pre­cip­i­tate iron and Enhanced Floc­cu­la­tion tech­niques to achieve set­tling rates of 0.3 m/s and clar­i­fi­er efflu­ent total iron con­cen­tra­tions of 0.3 mg/L. This treat­ment sys­tem is locat­ed with­in 15 min­utes of the Pitts­burgh Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. Atten­dees can choose to be dropped off at a pre-select­ed hotel near the air­port or be tak­en back to the con­fer­ence hotel in Mor­gan­town, West Vir­ginia.

Because most of the tour will take place out­side, please dress for tem­per­a­tures rang­ing from 1.5 °C in the morn­ing to 15°C in the after­noon.

Detailed Itinerary

Friday, April 26th

Depart Mor­gan­town Exhib­it Cen­ter half an hour after the con­fer­ence pro­gram ends via a bus and trav­el two hours to John­stown, Penn­syl­va­nia.

Saturday, April 27th

Depart Hol­i­day Inn in John­stown at 8:00 in the morn­ing (Trav­el 48 km).

Arrive at 8:45 at Flight 93 Memo­r­i­al

The Flight 93 Nation­al Memo­r­i­al is oper­at­ed by the Unit­ed States Nation­al Park Ser­vice and is a memo­r­i­al built to com­mem­o­rate the crash of Unit­ed Air­lines Flight 93, which was one of four air­craft hijacked dur­ing the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks in 2001. The nation­al memo­r­i­al was cre­at­ed to hon­our the pas­sen­gers and crew of Flight 93, who stopped the ter­ror­ists from reach­ing their tar­get by fight­ing the hijack­ers, caus­ing the plane to crash into a mine site. The mine is no longer active and mine water is being pumped to the sur­face and treat­ed by a large pas­sive treat­ment sys­tem. We will vis­it both the pas­sive treat­ment sys­tem and the Memo­r­i­al.

9:00 – 10:30 Flight 93 Pump and Treat­ment Sys­tem


  • Pro­vide his­to­ry of sur­face and under­ground min­ing at the Memo­r­i­al.
  • Dis­cuss the geo­chem­istry of mine pools and con­trol­ling min­er­al phas­es.
  • Vis­it the 4,500 L/min pump-and-treat sys­tem and dis­cuss the tran­si­tion from lime treat­ment to pas­sive treat­ment.
  • Show­case the pas­sive clar­i­fi­ca­tion tech­niques used to achieve < 0.1 mg/L total iron.
  • Show­case sludge removal tech­niques.
  • Describe efflu­ent qual­i­ty issues and the cor­rec­tion strat­e­gy.
  • Vis­it the man­ganese removal bed and describe the his­to­ry of tech­nol­o­gy, geo­chem­istry, and per­for­mance.

11:00 – 11:45 Nation­al Park Ser­vice guid­ed tour and dis­cus­sion of the Memo­r­i­al

11:45 – 13:30 Lunch at Memo­r­i­al meet­ing room and Self-Guid­ed Tour of visitor’s cen­tre and Memo­r­i­al grounds

  • Option­al walk via the path to the Memo­r­i­al and point of impact.
  • Self-guid­ed tour of vis­i­tor cen­tre time­line of events dis­play.
  • Box lunch and eat in the Memo­r­i­al meet­ing room.

Leave at 13:45 and trav­el to St. Michael, Penn­syl­va­nia (48 km)

Arrive at 14:30 at South Fork Mine Water Treat­ment Plant


  • View a 37,000 L/min mine pool pump and treat­ment plant oper­at­ed by a coal com­pa­ny.
  • Plant design mod­elled after Beth­le­hem Steel’s High Den­si­ty Sludge treat­ment plants of the 1970s who devel­oped the high-den­si­ty sludge tech­nol­o­gy at a near­by plant.
  • Dis­cuss the treat­ment redun­dan­cy incor­po­rat­ed into the design.
  • Two 64-meter diam­e­ter weld­ed steel con­ven­tion­al clar­i­fiers.
  • Dis­cuss the design, oper­a­tion, and per­for­mance of Decar­bon­a­tion tanks to reduce car­bon­ate acid­i­ty and dis­cuss the neg­a­tive impact on sludge den­si­ty, efflu­ent clar­i­ty, and poly­mer dose.
  • Show­case Beth­le­hem Steel’s grav­i­ty-dri­ven lime feed sys­tem design that elim­i­nates lime clog­ging issues with pump­ing lime slur­ry.
  • Dis­cuss High Den­si­ty Sludge process.

Leave at 16:00 and trav­el to the Hol­i­day Inn in Down­town John­stown, Penn­syl­va­nia (12 km)

Sunday, April 28th

Depart Hol­i­day Inn in John­stown at 8:00 am (18 km)

Arrive 8:30 at Rose­bud Min­ing Mine 78 Coal Prepa­ra­tion and Refuse Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty Tour

8:30 – 9:00 Site Safe­ty Train­ing

9:00 to 10:30: Tour of Coal Prepa­ra­tion Plant and Train Load­out Facil­i­ties


  • Guid­ed tour through the plant
  • Dis­cuss coal sep­a­ra­tion tech­niques (fine vs. coarse cir­cuits)

10:30 to 12:00 Tour of Coal Refuse Dis­pos­al Area


  • Describe the design of a coal refuse pile facil­i­ty.
  • Show­case sur­face water and ground­wa­ter pro­tec­tion sys­tems.
  • Under­drain sys­tem.
  • Syn­thet­ic lin­er and cap.
  • Leachate col­lec­tion sys­tem.
  • Leachate treat­ment sys­tem.
  • Qual­i­ty of Acid Mine Drainage from leachate drain.

At 12:30 Depart Mine 78 and Trav­el to 1889 Nation­al Flood Memo­r­i­al in South Fork, Penn­syl­va­nia (16 km)

Arrive 12:30 at 1889 Nation­al Flood Memo­r­i­al in South Fork

12:30 – 14:00 Box Lunch and Self-guid­ed tour of the Flood Memo­r­i­al

16:00 Depart and trav­el to Vin­ton­dale, Penn­syl­va­nia (34 km)

  • Tour a brand new 27,000 L/min mine pool pump and treat­ment sys­tem that is cur­rent­ly under con­struc­tion.
  • The con­struc­tion cost of the plant is $27 mil­lion US dol­lars.
  • Will treat three dif­fer­ent mine pools to restore 32 km of the stream.
  • Incor­po­rates many dif­fer­ent mod­ern treat­ment and process con­trol tech­nolo­gies.

Arrive 17:30 at the Hyatt Place in Pittsburgh/North Shore near PNC Park/National Aviary

Evening – Folks on their own to eat.

Monday, April 29th

Depart Hyatt Place at 9:50 am 

Arrive at the Nation­al Aviary

  • Bob Klein­mann, who reg­u­lar­ly vol­un­teers at the aviary will pro­vide a tour
  • Birds, Birds, Birds, need I say more about this tour stop?

12:00 Eat at the Aviary

13:00 Depart and trav­el to Glad­den Treat­ment Sys­tem (27 km)

13:45 Arrive Glad­den


  • Vis­it 7,500 L/min pump and treat sys­tem with a clar­i­fi­er
  • $15 mil­lion US Dol­lars; con­struct­ed in 2021
  • Cir­cum­neu­tral pH, net alka­line, fer­rug­i­nous coal mine drainage
  • 50% by wt hydro­gen per­ox­ide and 50% Sodi­um Hydrox­ide
  • Enhanced floc­cu­la­tion process
  • Dis­cuss the dye test used to devel­op break­through curves to deter­mine the reac­tor mod­el
  • Used reac­tor mod­el to opti­mize a pilot test to try het­ero­ge­neous iron oxi­da­tion
  • Dis­cuss sludge thick­en­ing tech­niques and dis­pos­al.


15:30 Con­clude Tour

Atten­dees can either be dropped off at one of the hotels list­ed below near the Pitts­burgh Inter­na­tion­al Air­port or be trans­port­ed back to the con­fer­ence venue in Mor­gan­town, West Vir­ginia.

Hotels near Pittsburg airport

La Quin­ta Inn by Wyn­d­ham Pitts­burgh Air­port
8507 Uni­ver­si­ty Blvd
Carnot-Moon, PA 15108

Dou­ble Tree by Hilton Hotel Pitts­burgh Air­port
8402 Uni­ver­si­ty Blvd
Moon Twp, PA 15108

Hamp­ton Inn Pitts­burgh-Air­port
8514 Uni­ver­si­ty Blvd
Moon Twp, PA 15108

Amer­i­c­as Best Val­ue Inn Pitts­burgh Air­port
8858 Uni­ver­si­ty Blvd
Coraopo­lis, PA 15108