ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Douglas Run Road is now open to traffic in Elizabeth Township after water from an abandoned coal mine flooded a section of the road on Monday.

PennDOT crews were cleaning an underground pipe in an abandoned coal mine when the blowout occurred. Water had built up in part because of recent heavy rainfalls.

Water gushed from a manhole, flowed downhill into a nearby creek and then into the Youghiogheny and Monongahela rivers.

An attorney who specializes in environmental issues, Ned Mulcahy, of the Three Rivers Waterkeeper Association, said he was concerned about the chemicals in the water, including iron and iron oxide.

The chemicals will dissipate when the water flows into the rivers, but he was concerned about other possible contaminants as well.

People who live in the neighborhood say this isn’t the first mine blowout. There was a far worse blowout in the 80s and the 60s.

On Monday, the only home flooded belonged to Bill Hinnerman. He came home to find the water in his basement.

Western Pennsylvania is honeycombed with hundreds of old mines either partly or entirely filled with water. Most of the time it flows underground into creeks, streams and rivers, but today was an exception.

A PennDOT official said despite the color of the water and what’s in it, it’s not a threat to human health or the environment.

Water Gushes From Abandoned Mine In Elizabeth Twp.

More Local News
More Reports By Ralph Iannotti
Three Rivers Waterkeeper

Watch & Listen LIVE