How to Get There
On route 286 coming from Indiana, turn left onto Tanoma Road (by the church with the gold dome). Stay on Tanoma Road for about 2 and 1/2 miles (you will go over 2 small one lane bridges, stay left on Tanoma Road at a Y in the road). Turn left on Rayne Church Road. The Tanoma AMD Wetlands Educational Site is immediately to your right.
On route 119 coming from Indiana, turn right onto Tanoma Road at the Dollar Store. Travel on Tanoma Road until you get to the little town of Tanoma and bear right to continue on Tanoma Road. Turn right at the first road on your right – Rayne Church Road.
You can put the following address into your GPS: 3900 Rayne Church Road, Tanoma, PA 15701′ Park in the parking lot.
Begin your tour at the parking lot. Pick up a brochure at the pavilion to help you identify plants and trees at the site. Enjoy your walk!
Tanoma AMD Site
The Tanoma Passive Mine Drainage Treatment Project was initiated in 1995 by the Crooked Creek Watershed Association. Developed by the PA DEP, the site uses a series of ponds/wetlands designed to filter water, removing heavy metals and pollutants. The Evergreen Conservancy acquired the site in 2006, taking over maintenance of the site from the Southern Allegheny Conservancy.
The discharge originates from a mine pool estimated to be in excess of two billion gallons, fed by three connected mines which partially flooded with water when they were closed in the 1950s and 1960s.
The natural limestone present in the mine pool acts to neutralize the acidity in the water, however, the water still contains a high concentration of iron. Untreated, this discharge dumped 126 pounds of iron per day into Crooked Creek.
The Tanoma treatment system employs both settling ponds and aerobic wetlands, with the settling ponds at the beginning of the system precipitating and storing most of the iron, and the aerobic wetlands at the end of the system filtering out the rest of the iron particles before the water enters Crooked Creek.
Our Tanoma AMD Wetlands site is open to the public and includes a self-guided trail and pavilion with picnic tables. Signage along the trail provides information regarding our AMD treatment system, renewable energy, and native plants and trees seen at the site. We also offer a wide variety of guided activities and educational programs appropriate for students ranging from elementary to the college level. Visit our Environmental Education page for more information.
The Trompe Advantage
A new Trompe system was installed late in 2015. A trompe, originally developed in Italy in the 17th century, is a passive hydraulic air compressor. The system has no moving parts and does not require any energy to operate. Abandoned mine water flowing out of the Tanoma treatment system powers the trompe which generates compressed air that is piped into the first settling pond. The added oxygen increases the efficiency of iron precipitation/capture at the beginning of the treatment system.
If you have been out to Tanoma, have you noticed something that looks like an oil slick? Did you wonder how that got into the water? It is not an oil slick. We believe it is a bacterium called Leptothrix discophora. It uses iron the way we use oxygen. Leptothrix discophora embeds itself in an iridescent film of its own making. The film is visible to the naked eye and often looks like an oil slick. You can tell the difference between an oil slick and a film of Leptothrix discophora by running your finger or a stick through the film. If the film flows back together, it is oil. If it shatters, it is Leptothrix discophora.
Occasionally you will see an orange pudding-like substance near the Leptothrix discophora film. The pudding-like reddish material is probably the product of the iron-oxidizing bacterium Leptothrix ochracea.
Several conditions favor the growth of iron bacteria. The situation in Tanoma is slowly moving water, and water that contains little dissolved oxygen. Unfortunately the appearance of these bacteria may indicate that our system is not functioning as efficiently as it should. The trompe system installed in 2015 will increase the level of dissolved oxygen in the water, increasing the efficiency of the system. This should in turn reduce the presence of these bacteria.
If you are interested in Leptothrix discophora you can visit the following web site for more information. Linda Grashoff http://www.lindagrashoff.com/Text_Pages/Frequently_Asked_Questions.html
Putting Renewable Resources to Work
Tanoma has three forms of renewable energy: solar, hydro and wind. A 4 panel solar array, a water turbine and a vertical-axis wind turbine generate the electricity used to/for:
- Data logger (monitors dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH as well as depth, conductivity, and temperature)
- 4 water aerators in the first settling pond
- Pavilion lighting and outlets
- Motion Detector lights in the parking lot
- Tanoma self-guided tour was created for the Indiana County Decathlon, a fun way to explore our county parks and discover other great places to be active by participating in active events. Go to the link for more information . Indiana County WalkWorks Program (icopd.org) Tanoma is also a self-guided walk in the Friends of the Parks 2021 brochure.
- Educational programs are still on hold due to the Covid virus.
- The Trompe is working to increase dissolved oxygen in the first pond. We continue to do water testing on a regular basis. Our multiprobe water monitor was cleaned and calibrated and continues to monitor the water 24/7.
- Unfortunately, all of our programs for April, May and June had to be cancelled due to the COVID Virus and the need for social distancing and stay at home orders. We felt it was better to be safe.
- One day we notice two turtles laying eggs in the stone near the pavilion. These are wood turtles. The wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) is a species of turtle common to North America. It is a genus which contains only one other species of turtle: the bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii ). The wood turtle reaches a length of 5.5 to 7.9 in. It spends a great deal of time in or near the water of wide rivers, preferring shallow, clear streams with compacted and sandy bottoms. The wood turtle can also be found in forests and grasslands, but will rarely be seen more than several hundred meters from flowing water.
- The Trompe is working to increase dissolved oxygen in the first pond. We continue to do water testing on a regular basis.
- DEP helped us out on 7/23/20 by bringing out equipment to blow out the pipes that run underground from pond to pond, They had gotten clogged up with iron and debris and were restricting water flow. A big thanks goes out to the DEP folks who helped with the project.
- A motion activated security light has been added to the parking lot. It was deemed necessary due to a few incidents of illegal activity. Of course it’s powered by the off-grid solar/wind/hydro electrical system.
- BioMost came out one cold day in January and did some maintenance on the lifterator system on the Trompe. They shortened the pipes under the towers to prevent them from clogging and reinstalled them As of the last check all 6 were working .
- The Story Book Walk was reinstalled for this year with a new book. The Indiana Library staff chose our book and supplied the pages for us again this year which is “The Sheep Take A Walk”. Much thanks to the library for our story book every year!
- IUP’s honor college students: Annabel Haberberger, Shane Peterson, Hannah Peterson-Banks, & Kevin Berezansky came out to Tanoma to help with Spring maintenance and get the frames ready to reinstall our story book walk. They raked the whole path and cleaned all our signs.
- Unfortunately wiring was stolen from the pavilion sometime this spring. Dan and Malcolm rewired the pavilion so the lights and outlets are working again. The wiring is now more protected from vandalism inside conduit.
- Evergreen Conservancy’s annual membership was held Tuesday June 25 at the Tanoma Outdoor Environmental Education Center on a pleasant, rainless day. This contrasts with the previous two years when participants endured flood conditions.
- The previous wind turbine at Tanoma was destroyed by a bad storm. Dan Boone installed a new one in late August with the help of our IUP student volunteer, Stephen Plowcha. Unlike the old wind turbine, which was a vertical-axis type, this new one is a 1500W horizontal-axis turbine. We look forward to it adding to the mix of solar and hydro generators to keep our off-grid electrical system running.
- We had several tours of IUP students at Tanoma this fall. All had a tour of the system and learned about AMD and passive treatment systems. Blacklick Schools brought 45 7th graders out to Tanoma on October 23rd. We had three stations set up: Macro invertebrates, system tour with water testing and renewable energy. Thanks to the volunteers who helped carry out the programs: Josh Brown, Jeff Himes, Cindy Rogers, Paul Majoris, Stephanie Widzowski, and Sarah Smallwood.
- Erin Janeski brought two different classes to Tanoma on October 23rd and 24th for a system tour.
- The Trompe: All towers and the sled are working to produce more dissolved oxygen in the first pond to help the iron drop out. It all seems to be working fine. Air intake units of the Trompe will need to be power washed every 2-3 years.
- Winter maintenance was done by Evergreen Conservancy volunteers and IUP Into the Streets volunteers. The last of our programs was finished up in October. Re-wiring for the new wind turbine is nearly complete.
- Thanks to Stephen Plowcha and William Lesso and all our other volunteers for IUP’s Honers College and the ‘Into the Streets’ program who provided so much of the labor.
- Tanoma is open to hunting by permission only but the hunters will be informed that the path is open to the public from dawn to dusk.
• We had a new storybook walk supplied from the library again this year called In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming.
• With the hard rains and bad weather patterns we still have had some flooding issues every time it rains hard where Crooked Creek comes over its banks but since we got the pavilion base done with poured cement it has not washed out. We have had to rake the sides and the path.
• We continued to do bi-weekly water testing at Tanoma to check the system.
• We did some tree maintenance to clear some brush this fall plus other general maintenance to clear weeds and keep the path clear.
• IUP ‘Into the Streets’ students helped out on October 20th to clean up for the winter and take down the storybook trail.
• On October 20th we did a tree planting along Crooked Creek to fill in thin and open spaces.
- The two thirds of the year the Trompe was up and running and seems to be helping the system increase the dissolved oxygen in the ponds. Our numbers continue to be better this winter than last.
- The winter light show is still operating, Sea Monster Rennie and her little one.
- The planned expansion of the renewable energy system includes six additional solar panels of higher wattage and extra batteries. This will allow for more time running the aeration pump, as well as approximately doubling power supply for use of lights, power tools, and the decorative light display.
- We hosted the Into the Streets in the spring and fall with the IUP kids coming out to Tanoma to help with chores.
- Indiana Free Library laminated another storybook for our story book trail at Tanoma called Daniel Finds a Poem
- We were awarded the 2017 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and attended the award ceremony in Harrisburg. We were one of 16 statewide awards given. We were presented the award for our efforts on AMD remediation at Tanoma with our new Trompe.
- The Evergreen Conservancy Annual picnic and meeting was held June 22 at Tanoma in the midst of a downpour that resulted in flooding in many members’ homes and in the area. All told about 16 hardy souls showed up and we had a grand time having a picnic under the pavilion as we watched Crooked Creek strain its banks. We had a brief business meeting and Cindy recounted our accomplishments of the past year. We voted to retain the current board members and welcomed Nicole Kelley as a new board member. Before people got called away to pump basements we gave the Evergreen Award to Art Grguric of Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association and Trout Nursery, a long time steward of the water and land. Later we gave a certificate of appreciation to Ed Patterson in honor of the 50 year celebration of Parks and Recreation in Indiana County, a very well-deserved honor.
- Flooding has been really bad this year. Art Grguric and his crew came out to Tanoma and poured a new cement floor under our pavilion. We got a load of stone to put around the base and we moved the battery shed up on the pad to keep it from getting flooded again.
- At Tanoma several different research projects with IUP students are going on at Tanoma this year. It will be interesting to learn the results of the projects.
- After we got flooded the Trompe has not been able to keep air pressure in the pipes. Tim from Bio Most and his crew have been trying to figure out what the problem is. We had a crew come out with a camera to take pictures in the pipes and observed some water lying in the lines. Bio Most installed a T clean out pipe and a pump to pump out any water that accumulates in the pipes. They think that the frost may have damaged a pipe in the Trompe at the end of the system. They will be out there as soon as the weather permits to dig up some of the pipes and do repairs. Hopefully that will take care of the lack of oxygen getting through the system.
- We continue to test the water weekly and our multiprobe is still in the first pond.
- The Trompe has been installed in Tanoma. It is working and we are hoping to see an improvement in the efficiency of the system. We have a large increase in water coming into the ponds, currently up to 5,000 gallons per minute (gpm). The system was not built in the 1990’s to handle that amount of water we now see coming in from the mine pools. We are still working on tweaking the system but the new Trompe seems to be handling that amount of water. Even though there is still iron going into Crooked Creek, it is less that when it enters the ponds and we hope to see it decrease as the system settles in. Meeting with DEP scheduled for in May to discuss the issues at Tanoma.
- Indiana County Endowment Grant (ICE) – The Pittsburgh Foundation Our new brochure on Renewable Energy is finished thanks to funding from the ICE grant.
- June 22, 2016 during the WPCAMR conference at the KCAC, a day will be on touring the area and they will visit Tanoma for lunch and a tour.
- June 28, 2016 Trompe ribbon Cutting Celebration at Tanoma… 2:00 pm All are welcome to attend and learn more about the system.
- June 28, 2016 Annual Membership Picnic. 5:00 pm, bring a table setting and a dish to share. EC will provide rolls, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. A great day to renew your membership or become a member too!
- October 6, 2016 the Field conference of PA Geologists will visit Tanoma for a tour.
- At Tanoma through the winter we continued to test the water as often as weather permits and our multiprobe datalogger continues to record data about the water… Dan Boone with help from Paul Majoris replaced the batteries in the system so the renewable energy can be stored and be able to use all that energy.
- Indiana Free Library laminated all the pages of our new story book walk, The Giving Tree.
- “Into the Streets”: Members of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, along with a few other students, chose to volunteer with Evergreen Conservancy on April 18th. They put up the story and cleaned up a litter dump.
- Evergreen Conservancy has been very busy with environmental education programs this year. In April, a Girl Scout troop from Blairsville came to Tanoma to complete their hiking badges and to learn about the water cycle. We also had a reading group from Homer City Library make “eco art” at Tanoma. In May, we taught students of Saltsburg and Kiski Elementary schools about the water cycle during their “Trout in the Classroom” release days. A Ford City school group learned about macro-invertebrates, geocaching, tree ID, renewable energy, and salamanders taught by Ed Patterson at Tanoma.
- Evergreen Conservancy was the recipient of a 2014 Growing Greener Grant , funded by the AMD Set Aside Program, from the DEP! Evergreen received the award to improve the passive Tanoma AMD Wetlands by adding a Trompe system. It started to be installed in August.
- Evergreen Conservancy was awarded a $3,000 grant from The Indiana County Endowment. We designed and installed three new signs at Tanoma to explain our renewable energy and our new Trompe system. These will be available for visitors to Tanoma to learn about our system and to help with the environmental education programs we do at Tanoma.
- Evergreen Conservancy’s annual membership meeting was on Tuesday, June 23rd at our Tanoma Environmental Education Center. John Somonick was awarded the Evergreen Award this year.
- Evergreen Conservancy’s fall program set a record of 63 people showing up to learn “All about Elk”. Mandy Marconi, Environmental Education Specialist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, drove from Elk County to Blue Spruce Park to give an entertaining, educational program about Elk in Pennsylvania.
- We had a new addition to Tanoma this fall. Our new visitor is thanks to Dan Boone who created her and she runs off of our renewable energy. Our visitor’s name is “Rennie” because she is a renewable energy monster and is a close cousin of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster.
- The Trompe installation was started in late fall. There was lots to do and work went into 2016.
- Evergreen was awarded a Colcom Foundation Grant to help cover the costs over the next three years of our OSM VISTA volunteer position and maintenance costs for our water monitoring projects. With this grant we will be entering water monitoring data into The 3RiversQUEST database which was created to provide consistency among the various programs throughout the Upper Ohio River Basin. We are so appreciative of Colcom’s continued support of Evergreen Conservancy’s work.
- We were awarded a $1,000 grant from Norcross to purchase GPS units for geocaching and earthCache environmental education programs. We did several of these programs with borrowed units this year. Now we will be able to purchase our own and continue to offer this type of program. Thank you Norcross
- Once again we hosted IUP students through the “Into the Streets” program came to Tanoma. Volunteers helped with installation of the new story book walk, “Walk a Green Path”, and other jobs.
- Intern Jerimiah Jamrom and others are preparing what is known as an EarthCache at the Tanoma Environmental site.
- A second intern, Alex Patterson did research on our telemetry data logger data.
- Our Tanoma passive treatment system is not working as efficiently as we would like it to. It still takes iron out of the water before entering Crooked Creek; but sometimes during the year when the water is high and the plants are not growing it is not as effective as it needs to be. There seems to be more water coming through the system than it was originally built to handle; and the flow is too strong to drop out all the iron. We are in discussions with Stream Restoration and the DEP to see what we can do to improve the system. We are looking into the Trompe system and funding through GG AMD for that project.
- Many programs for environmental education were done April, May, June, and more are scheduled for July.
- DEP came to look at Tanoma. We also met with Tim Deheny about the Trompe system. He is preparing an estimate for installation. Bob Hedin visited June 4thto to help with our assessment. We have started a GG grant application.
- Members from PASEC and EC continue do water testing every week and we continue to monitor via the multiprobe.
- Tuesday June 10 at 5:30 pm was our annual meeting at Tanoma Wetlands Educational Center and we celebrated our 10th We gave out our third Evergreen Award to Karin Eller, Plant-It Earth and also gave a lifetime achievement award to Dr. Bob Eppley.
- Awarded a grant from PA American Water to install a solar panel to power the datalogger in the first pond. This system recharges the battery–preventing dozens of batteries from reaching the waste stream.
- Awarded a grant from ARIPPA and the Captain Planet Foundation to install a water turbine between ponds one and two.
- Created a “Renewable Energy Booklet,” showcasing the renewable technologies on display at Tanoma.
- Many environmental education sessions were held at Tanoma in 2013 including kids from home schools, local schools and scout programs, a school with 4th, 5th, and 6thgraders from Ford City, and 9th graders from Marion Center School.
- We participated in Into the Streets again this year both spring and fall and hosted IUP students who helped with various projects.
- Kyle Heckert, 16, is a Boy Scout from Troop 11 in Indiana For his Eagle project, Kyle built an 8’ x 8’ shed at the Tanoma AMD Wetlands Educational Site. The shed was constructed to store a new “green” lawn mower, along with other tools and supplies.
- Two new aerators are now in the first pond and we are working to find out the best aeration schedule and how much the renewable energy system can power.
- We’ve installed a new hydroturbine at Tanoma. It’s an Ampair UW 100 model of turbine and is ideally suited for good, fast flow in a shallow stream with no “head”– that is, water flowing with no significant drop in elevation.
- The water flow from the mine discharge is still coming out in the seasonally variable amount of 1500–2800 gallons per minute which is hampering the efficiency of the passive system. We are looking into ways to improve the system.
- Evergreen Conservancy had its annual membership meeting Tuesday June 4th at the Tanoma Environmental Education Center. We gave out the second Evergreen Award to the late John Novak. We gave out recognition awards to many of our water monitoring volunteers that have been with us since the beginning. We also offered a system tour to see the new aerators and newly rebuilt wind turbine
- We installed a multi-parameter data logger in the first pond at Tanoma to monitor dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH as well as depth, conductivity, and temperature.
- IUP technology students created YouTube videos about Tanoma and Renewable Energy for a class project.
- As part of IUP’s “Into the Streets” events, students installed a storybook walk, plant I.D. signs, and bat boxes.
- We hosted many environmental education programs: Divine Redemmer Catholic School field trip, 4-H Summer Camp, and high school students.
- One Girl Scout installed 6 bluebird boxes to earn her Silver Badge Award.
- 25 people came out with the Tourist Bureau Mingle in July to tour the system.
- In September, 45 people came out as part of the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours to tour Tanoma.
- Several Girl Scout groups came out throughout the year to sample macroinvertebrates and earn Bug Badges. They also created tie dyed shirts with iron oxide and earned Eco Art Badges.
- Fall of 2012 included work on the system:
- DEP moved two barriers from the parking lot and built a road across the first, second and last emergency overflows so we could drive a vehicle across to access the area when needed. They dug out land and made the flow area bigger from the first to the second ponds. They built a new weir in the last overflow (going into crooked creek) so we can better measure the flow coming out of the system.
- Water monitoring: In # 1cell the iron has been high (between 10-11) and the dissolved oxygen low (between 1-2). Because of the lack of vegetation in winter the numbers are worse in the winter, and this year is no exception.
- Maintenance is ongoing. Tim has been keeping the path in good shape, Jason is mowing, Dan is working on the renewable energy system while Cindy, Malcolm and others have been doing work on the grounds; John and Paul are taking regular water tests. We also planted about 15 blueberry plants around the site that were donated by Musser Nursery.
- Renewable Energy: The water turbine was irreparably damaged, including the previous generator, when a new weir was placed at the last outlet channel, DEP improvements may necessitate relocation and redesign of the water turbine.
- The wind and water turbines are now installed and will be fully working by this summer.
- We held our annual membership meeting at Tanoma this year. We were able to use the electric provided by our solar panels for the power point presentation on the Natural Heritage Project by Chris Tracey. He said it was the first time he ever did a presentation outdoors powered by renewable energy!
- We applied for a grant for water aerators and hope that we will get this grant to complete our renewable energy project this year.
- In 2010 we received three grants for a micro-hydroelectric project for Tanoma. The project utilized the flow of the discharge to produce electricity. In addition a wind turbine and solar panels were installed to power lighting at the pavilion and power a water fountain in the pond to help take iron out of the water. These grants were from ARIPPA and EPCAMR (Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation),
Dominion Foundation and Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.. Our solar panels are now in place and working to provide lights to the pavilion.
- Awarded a grant from the Indiana County Endowment/The Pittsburgh Foundation to building materials for an ADA approved path from the parking lot to the end of the trail.
- The Evergreen Garden club had their meeting at Tanoma and a tour of the passive treatment system.
- EC would like to do additional native plantings in the area, We have a commitment from the Evergreen Garden club and other local groups to help with these plantings in 2010.
- April 24, 2010 a group of about 30 girl came to Tanoma and had an exciting day working on and accomplishing their eco-action badge. They learned to test water, catch creek critters to determine water quality, learned about recycling, using herbs instead of chemicals to clean, made tie-dye T-shirts with the iron collected and recycled from the mine water, learned about renewable energy from Dan Boone and his wind mill and learned about native plants in the area.
- We had our third annual event in October 2010. The highlight of the day was the fly fishing and fly tying by the Ken Sink chapter of Trout unlimited. Other activities included educational stations, plant walks, system walks, a demonstration of wind energy, and a wetlands scavenger hunt!
- We applied for and received a grant from the Sprout/Spring fund for environmental educational materials and attended a ceremony in Pittsburgh for the awards ceremony. We are excited to be able to purchase materials and are eager to start scheduling programs in 2011 at our outdoor educational Tanoma site!
- Awarded a grant from Senator Don White to install a small parking lot. The parking lot is now completed and functional as of September 4th, 2009.
- Evergreen was awarded a grant from the Indiana County Endowment/The Pittsburgh Foundation to build a pavilion. The Indiana County Vocational Technical School designed the structure and volunteers constructed the pavillion. The pavilion was dedicated as the “Don Robertson Memorial Pavilion” at the Tanoma AMD Wetlands Event October 3rd, 2009.
- Awarded a community grant from Wal-Mart for the site. One of the uses of this grant was to design and install plant and tree identification signs along the trail. This project was a collaboration between Evergreen and Penn’s Corner Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc.
- The parking lot was completed by October of 2009 just in time for the second annual Tanoma AMD Wetlands Celebration.
- EC held the second annual Tanoma educational event in the October 2009 for the community. It was well attended (over 100 people). We presented a plaque to Stacy Robertson and dedicated the pavilion in memory of her husband and founding board member Don Robertson. We offered programs and environmental activities for the attendees.
- The successful completion of the pavilion and parking lot has moved forward in allowing us to EC’s goal of providing a site for future education on environmental issues and awareness for our community.
- Grant for $4,680 to support Tanoma Abandoned Mine Drainage Wetlands Educational Trail awarded to EC by the Pittsburgh 250 Community Connections Sprout Fund.
- Signs were designed, ordered and installed in September/October of 2008.
- A wetlands self guided trail established
- An opening celebration was held October 4, 2008 which included education about the system, wild flower walks, and games.