Wednesday, August 16, 2006


On Monday morning, I attended the kick-off briefing for a scientific study beginning this month to analyze acid mine drainage into the Robinson Run Creek and its tributaries. The study is being funded by a $67,000 grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection and is being managed by the Wanashee Conservancy. ("Wanashee" is a Native American word for "clear waters." The conservancy was formed to address the environmental problems of the Robinson Run Watershed.)

The headwaters of the Robinson Run Creek are in Smith Township near the Borough of Midway and in the Village of Primrose that straddles the border of Mt. Pleasant Township and Robinson Township (Washington County). In the early part of the 1900s, the area was heavily mined for coal -- and the present-day orange-ish waters flowing in the creek bear witness to that legacy.

It's an area I know well -- many of my childhood and teenage years were spent growing up in Primrose. Staying out of "the crick" was a common admonition from my mother, who still lives there today. Her long backyard ends at the creek and she's cautious to keep her dogs out of it.

Robinson Run Creek travels from Primrose east through the Borough of McDonald, through the Village of Sturgeon (it's the border between North Fayette and South Fayette townships), enters the Borough of Oakdale and then travels into Collier Township where, just west of Carnegie, it flows into Chartiers Creek. Chartiers Creek flows to the Ohio River.

After this study is completed in the next year, the real work will begin for the Wanashee Conservancy -- finding the funding to remediate the sources of the acid mine drainage. Hopefully these monies will come from both government and private sources.

If elected to the PA House on November 7, I would be an active partner for projects like this in the 46th District and an advocate for them throughout Pennsylvania. No one should have an orange-ish creek in their backyard.

An aside: Monday's briefing was held at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute, located just west of Oakdale Borough. With each passing year, PTI becomes a stronger asset for our region!

Another aside: My great-great grandparents, Dominick Vincenti and Catherine Vicari Vincenti, immigrated to Primrose around the turn of the last century. Dominick worked in the coal mines near Primrose until he was killed in a mining accident in 1937. Dominick and Catherine's oldest son, Joe Vincenti, was my great-grandfather. Joe and his wife, Mary Berger Vincenti, spent decades operating a service station in Primrose a stone's throw from the Robinson Run Creek. The nucleus of the old service station building is now home to the Fort Cherry Ambulance Service.

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