The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, known as ALCOSAN, plans to spend more than $2 billion to build miles of new underground sewer pipes. People who pay sewer bills will pay for the upgrades. Clean water advocates have pushed for more green infrastructure instead of expensive new pipes.
Abandoned mines leach metals and other pollutants into Pennsylvania’s streams. Could fracking be one way to clean up this water? That’s what some inside the state government and the gas industry are proposing.
Orange-colored streams have been commonplace for decades in Pennsylvania. But slowly, people are cleaning the water, making it healthy for fish, and other wildlife. One innovative project is bringing together watershed advocates, regulators, and a mining company.
The brilliant rust orange iron oxide that’s pulled out of waterways polluted with acid mine drainage is finding its way into the hands of artists and craftsmen. The dried and powdered material is being used to color T-shirts, wood stain, concrete, and even the “burnt sienna” shade of Crayola crayons. Now a nonprofit is helping turn creek contaminants into pottery glaze.