MR Ross passive treatment system in Clearfield County.

Cleaner Water for Clearfield County

October 11, 2012

Cleaner water will be entering the West Branch of the Susquehanna River thanks to a new treatment system unveiled in the Morgan Run watershed in Clearfield County.

Located just 20 minutes southeast of Clearfield, the MR Ross passive treatment system will treat flows of acidic, metals-laden water or acid mine drainage (AMD) that emanates from a backfilled strip mine area into Morgan Run which flows to Clearfield Creek and eventually to the West Branch. 

AMD is a challenging environmental legacy resulting from years of unregulated resource extraction that took place all over PA and the nation prior to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. AMD coats streams in orange sludge and disrupts healthy aquatic life.

Before construction this discharge contributed 140 lbs/day of acidity, 4lbs/day of iron, and 2 lbs/day of aluminum to Morgan Run.  It had an average pH of 3.6, which is acidic enough to disrupt and discourage aquatic life. "There was nothing downstream, no life." said Kelly Williams with the Clearfield County Conservation District, which lead the efforts for treatment. The system was designed to remove 126 lbs/day of acidity, 3.6 lbs/day of iron, and 1.8 lbs/day of aluminum. 

"We're really excited to get our water samples back and see the results and impacts downstream," says Williams. The MR Ross system complements other systems already in place on other tributaries of Morgan Creek.

The Clearfield County Conservation District and Morgan Run Watershed Group received funding for this project through Growing Greener funds for construction, the Office of Surface Mining, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, and Trout Unlimited.

See photos of our tour at our Facebook Page.

Learn more about efforts to clean up AMD in Clearfield County and how you can volunteer at,