Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) treatment at Upper Saxman Run in Westmoreland County is a groundbreaking achievement. What began as a simple idea to use the energy from the flowing water of the Upper Saxman Run AMD discharge to produce electricity has turned into one of the most sophisticated projects ever tackled by the Loyalhanna Watershed Association (LWA).
The treatment plant facility will serve as the site for the remediation of the Upper and Lower Saxman AMD discharges, which have a combined flow of over 8,000 gallons per minute. This project is the first of its kind to utilize the flow of mine drainage as an alternative energy source, providing a significant cost savings in the operation of AMD systems by eliminating the electricity expenses they incur annually. It is the goal of LWA to provide information on this system and the problems encountered to others interested in pursuing a similar project.
The project involves the construction of a 1,600 foot pipeline to carry the 5,000 gallons per minute of discharge downstream, following an existing municipal sewage line to a micro turbine station located adjacent to the Latrobe Wastewater Treatment Plant. The water will flow through a Horizontal Kaplan Turbine and generator system before returning to Saxman Run. The system will be able to generate 3KW of electricity, which will power an existing small AMD treatment system operated by Saint Vincent College at the wastewater treatment plant.