The Lowber Passive Wetland Treatment System in Sewickley Township uses a series of ponds and constructed wetlands to capture and recover iron oxide from mine water before it enters Sewickley Creek. The water has to move from pond to pond for the system to operate effectively. Trees and other large woody vegetation can cause the embankments around the pond to fail, preventing the water from flowing as it should, and reducing the ability of the system to treat the mine water.
This summer, Chelsea Walker, the District’s Watershed Technician, developed a mowing plan for the site that will prevent trees and woody vegetation from growing on the embankment. Jim Pillsbury, the District’s Hydraulic Engineer and Sewickley Creek Watershed Association Board Member, then met with township officials and asked them to implement the plan.
In August, staff from Sewickley Township mowed the site for the first time. Almost immediately, the public noticed the change at the site. People stopped to visit and ask questions, while others came to view wildlife.
With this new partnership between Sewickley Township and the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association, the mine drainage treatment system can be an asset to water quality and township residents for generations to come.
To learn more about the Lower Passive Treatment System, visit: www.sewickleycreek.com/body/AMD/Lowber.pdf