Work will being this spring to extinguish a 14-year-old mine fire in Lackawanna County.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday that Earthmovers Unlimited, Inc. of Kylertown was awarded a $9.3 million contract for the Sterry Creek South — Dolph Mine Fire Reclamation Project in Olyphant.
According to the DEP, the fire spans seven acres of underground mine and includes coal refuse fires on a 15-acre mesa. Crews will use an existing 150-foot deep isolation trench to contain the fire, and then extinguish it with water and fill material.
The area will then be filled in with rock and soil, and grass will be planted.
“After years of planning and engineering, we are pleased to begin the reclamation work that will address the public health and safety hazards associated with unreclaimed mine lands and the old fires on this site,” said Jack Rokavec, division chief of DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “Two years ago, and just a few miles north of this project site, Earthmovers successfully completed another one of our projects — the Powderly Creek underground mine fire. Earthmovers extinguished the fire and reclaimed the site on budget and on time. We are pleased to work with them again and anticipate a successful land reclamation effort.”
Earthmoves will also reclaim nearly 75 acres of abandoned mine land that had been utilized between the early 1900s and 1970 at the Underwood Colliery and the neighboring Dolph Coal Company — Hannah Bell Slope Mine.
The project will be funded through a combination of state and federal funds.