Water Quality in Dunkard Creek

dunkard creek

Dunkard Creek has a variety of water quality problems. Currently, the PA DEP lists the Pennsylvania portion of Dunkard Creek as "impaired" with respect to total dissolved solids (TDS), chlorides and exotic species with the cause of impairment listed as subsurface mining.

Upstream in WV, high levels of TDS in the discharge of CONSOL Energy's Blacksville No. 2 mine was identified as the cause of a bloom of golden algae that caused a massive fish kill in Sept., 2009. The fish kill extended into PA and apparently extended at least to the I-79 bridge. CONSOL has currently reached an agreement with the WV DEP to limit TDS in their discharges, temporarily via flow control, but in the long run via the construction of a large desalination plant.

Currently, the largest source of TDS in Dunkard Creek is the discharge of water pumped by Dana mining from the Humphrey mine into Dunkard Creek. That water is treated for acidity but not for TDS and the discharge from this operation near Dana's 4-West Mine has severely impacted the aquatic community in Dunkard Creek. The report of a PA DEP study published in 2009 indicated the severe impacts: ""[A]t the time of the survey, the Shannopin [Steele Shaft] effluent has apparently caused degradation and the loss of a fishery in almost four miles of Dunkard Creek," with this degradation attributed to "sulfates/dissolved solids". This massive discharge of TDS represents one of the largest sources of TDS in the entire Monongahela River basin, and potentially affects municipal drinking water supplies downstream.

Online Access to Real-Time Dunkard Water Quality Data