FACTS

Funding AMD Chemistry
for Treatment Systems

 

Details about FACTS for Watershed Groups

Please Note:  WPCAMR's Growing Greener Grant funding for the FACTS Program has ended.  If future funding can be secured, we will resume this grant program.

What Can be Funded?

The FACTS grant

  • provides laboratory analysis of water samples from eligible passive AMD treatment systems at no cost to the organizations responsible for the systems;
  • is available in both the eastern and western coal regions of Pennsylvania;
  • may fund limited in-stream sampling to evaluate a treatment system's effect on its receiving waterway; and
  • also provides use of Datashed, an online database for water projects.

Upon approval of a FACTS application, the Project Manager will prescribe a sampling schedule, complete with which sampling points and chemical parameters will be covered by the program. The Project Manager will closely consider the sampling schedule suggested by the system's OM&R plan, as well as advice from a panel of experts.

Money or services provided by the program cannot be used for

  • maintenance projects or replacement of treatment systems;
  • any costs associated with an initial system installation;
  • administrative overhead, travel expenses, or reimbursement for volunteers' time.

Eligibility

To be eligible for operational assistance through the FACTS program, a treatment system must meet the following criteria:

  • located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
  • constructed with the intention of remediating water pollution that exists as the result of a mine that was abandoned before 1977;
  • not constructed to fulfill legal, compensatory liability, nor at the order of the state or federal government;
  • not monitored or maintained for profit;
  • all sampling points are accessible to volunteers without restriction;
  • has an established OM&R plan that meets the program's requirements; and
  • has no more than one "active" component, defined as
    • a component powered by electricity, including (but not limited to) fans or pumps or
    • introduction of any chemical except limestone or organic matter.

NOTE: Treatment systems with existing OM&R plans that address most, but not all, of the OM&R plan requirements may be eligible for "Provisional Application."

The FACTS grant was established with non-profit watershed groups, county conservation districts, RC&D councils, sportsmen's groups, and townships in mind. However, other not-for-profit entities are strongly encouraged to inquire about their eligibility for the program, as long as the treatment system to be sampled meets all the requirements listed above.

WPCAMR retains the sole discretion to provide or deny water sampling services.

Why does FACTS Require Use of Datashed?

In many organizations, sampling data gets looked at once when it arrives from the laboratory before getting filed away, never to be seen again for years. Although a quick glance can confirm that a treatment system is working well—or be indicative of failure—very gradual trends in the data over time are likely to be missed without continual, careful analysis. In addition, testing laboratories often send the data printed on paper, rather than electronically, making it nearly impossible for researchers to study complete datasets from the hundreds of treatment systems throughout Appalachia.

Datashed is a Web-based repository for water sampling data. It makes all this information publicly and freely accessible over the Internet (via a Creative Commons License). This allows other watershed groups, scientists, and academia to use it studying and evaluating AMD treatment technologies. Datashed also makes it easy to follow trends in a system over time.

The FACTS program uses Datashed as a central point of contact with all the participating laboratories and watershed groups. Groups can type field data directly into Datashed, and laboratories can upload their analysis results, making all data immediately available. Datashed can prescribe sampling plans for a treatment systems, send reminder e-mails, and handle payment for laboratory analyses.

What Analysis Laboratories can be Used?

At the moment, the two laboratories approved to accept water samples under the FACTS program are Mahaffey Laboratory (Grampian, PA) and G&C Laboratory (Summerville, PA). We will be expanding coverage across Pennsylvania very soon.

Even with just these two laboratories, the program is able to serve seven counties in Western Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Clearfield, Indiana, and Jefferson.

How to Apply

Detailed application instructions can be found at this link.

The largest part of the FACTS application is an operation and maintenance (OM&R) plan for the treatment system, which must meet certain requirements. Armed with a satisfactory OM&R plan, the applicant should complete and submit the online application form.

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