Within the headwaters, there are approximately 1,100 acres of abandoned surface mines and 110 acres of abandoned coal refuse piles. Abandoned surface mines leave highly erodible land exposed to the elements, in addition to mine refuse which is high in pyritic minerals. These abandoned mine lands contribute sediment, metals and acidity to the watershed drainage area in the form of acid mine drainage (AMD).


Physical problems related to mining, specifically strip mining and gob piles, include erosion and sedimentation. According to the ODNR Division of Mineral Resources Management, the Raccoon Creek Headwaters has some of the worst mine-related erosion/siltation problems in the state. These high erosion rates, in turn, lead to high sediment deposition in stream channels that can bury or cement substrates destroying aquatic habitat.


AMDAT Plan for the Headwaters of the Raccoon Creek Watershed


Sediment Total Maximum Daily Load for the Upper Basin of Raccoon Creek


Upper Raccoon Creek TMDL


Priority Sites


The major priority sites in the headwaters sub-shed include East Branch, where several impacted tributaries contribute significant acid and metal loadings in Raccoon Creek. Brushy Creek and the Mainstem of Raccoon Creek above Brushy Creek are also priority AMD abatement sites.


Raccoon Creek Headwaters Completed Projects


Carbondale II Doser


Carbondale II Doser is located in Section 30 of WaterlooTownship in Athens County. The site is seven acres and located in the subwatershed Hewett Fork of the Raccoon Creek Watershed.  The treatment approach for this site was to install an Aqua-fix lime-dosing unit. The major considerations in this design were the metal precipitates discharging into Hewett Fork because of the limited space for storage ponds on site. The goal of the design was to reduce 100 percent of the acid load discharging from the Carbondale mine seeps. The project goal was met by 100 precent. One problem encountered at this site was the dosing material performance. Initially lime kiln dust was used, but the material bridges in the dosing unit. The material was switched to calcium oxide, a more expensive material but greater neutralizing potential. Therefore the doser now has the ability to over-treat and neutralize acid mine drainage from downstream sources. Construction was complete April 1, 2004, by Law General Contracting for a cost of $389,637.


Project Outcome


As a result of the Carbondale II Wetland Doser project, the pH and net acidity has improved downstream of the reclamation site for 11 miles. Pre-construction data showed, pH in the range of 2.8 – 5.9 downstream of the project. However, after installation of the Carbondale II Wetland Doser, post-construction data shows pH in the range of 6.2 – 9.3 downstream of the project discharge. The net acidity concentrations decreased, showing net alkaline conditions continuing for 11 miles downstream. Approximately 758 lbs/day of acid were reduced from entering into Hewett Fork as a result of this AMD reclamation project. In addition to 100 percent of the acid load reduction there is an addition of approximately 186 lbs/day of alkalinity to Hewett Fork both as dissolved and solid unused calcium oxide. Dissolved metal load reduction occurring at this site was approximately 161 lbs/day. The metals precipitate as a result of the high pH water and become part of the substrate in the receiving stream.

Hope Clay

Hope Clay is located in Section 23 of Brown Township in Vinton County. The project discharge was measured at the Hope Clay Project tributary. The treatment approach for this site was to install an open limestone channel (OLC) and to conduct basic reclamation. The major consideration for this site was erosion control. The goal of the design was 100 percent acidity reduction and erosion control. The project goal was met by 100 percent.  The construction was complete June 1, 2005, by Hocking College Environmental Program for a cost of $67,000.


Project Outcome


As a result of the Hope Clay Project, pH and net acidity have improved downstream of the reclamation site for less than one mile. Pre-construction data showed pH at 3.3 at the project discharge. However, after installation of the Hope Clay Project, post-construction data shows pH in the range of 6.7 – 7.1 at the discharge and downstream.  The net acidity concentrations decreased 100 percent at the project discharge showing net alkaline conditions downstream. Approximately 21.53 lbs/day of acid and 3.77 lbs/day of metals were prevented from entering into Raccoon Creek as a result of this AMD reclamation project.

East Branch - Phase I

Construction equipment at Hope Clay Site Reclaimed land and limestone channels at Hope Clay after construction Carbondale East Seep Carbondale II Doser

Raccoon Creek begins with the meeting of the West and East Branch tributaries. The East Branch Subwatershed drains approximately 20 square miles in southeast Hocking County. Coal has been mined in the East Branch Subwatershed for more than a half century.  Underground mining affects 4% or 576 acres. Surface mining began in the early 1940’s and continued into the 1970’s with 15% or 1983 acres affected. Early surface mines were limited by technology and only removed a portion of the coal along the ridge margin. Later mining removed entire ridgetops but operated under more stringent environmental regulations.  It is this early surface mining that continues to degrade water quality particularly during seasonally wet weather. Common features include orphaned highwalls, waterfilled pits, barren spoil ridges, coal refuse dumps, and head-of-hollow valley-fills.

Phase I of the East Branch project, including the EB 210 tributary, along Sanner Road, and EB 160 tributary, along State Route 56, was completed in December of 2007.  The project is composed of 7 sites with a total of 8 steel slag leach beds, several open limestone channels, wetland cells, and extensive reclamation.  East Branch Phase II, including the EB 190 tributary that runs along Laurel Run Road has been delayed until further funding is available, likely in 2009.

A post-construction monitoring plan has been developed to document the effects of the Phase I passive treatment projects to East Branch. 

Mine spoil filling a valley of East Branch before reclamation