If you ever traveled through Vintondale, PA during the spring or after long periods of rain, you may have noticed three fountains in Blacklick Creek. These fountains are actually mine water discharge wells drilled into the mine shafts below to relieve water pressure that builds as the mine voids fill with water.
We were notified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (PA DEP BAMR) team that one of these wells was blocked. This was not an emergency, but did decrease the efficiency of the wells by a third, which raised the level of concern of their group. Under our on-call contract with the PA DEP BAMR, we were asked to mobilize our CME 45C track rig into the creek and drill through the well to clear the obstruction. Our team of drillers, dressed in rain gear and water proof boots, waded through six inches to a foot of water to the well to drill 30+ feet down to clear the obstruction that lodged after being forced up from the mine void.
The photo was taken just as the driller cleared the well, which significantly lowered the height of the discharge from the other two wells.
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