Officials unveil new acid mine water treatment facility at Keystone Potato Products

FRAILEY TOWNSHIP – After securing two competitive state grants, Keystone Potato Products unveiled a 3,800 square foot building containing a new acid mine water treatment system.

The new system will effectively pump three million gallons of mine-impacted well water each month and filter out high contents of iron and manganese. The system replaces the plant’s greensand filtration system. The addition of a computer automation control option included with the system allows the company to add chemicals to assist with the potato treatment process. Many of the local officials pointed to the economic viability of the region and its need for newer, sustainable systems.

Keith Masser, CEO of Keystone Potato Products, outlined the process to secure the grants and local importance of the new system.

“Keystone Potato appreciates the help and support we’ve received from Senator Argall’s office in our efforts to be an environmentally friendly leader and business partner in our local community,” Masser said. “The financial help that Keystone has received from the DEP’s Growing Greener grant program and the DCED’s Acid Mine Drainage Abatement & Treatment grant program have helped us install a state-of-the-art water treatment system. This system compliments the other sustainable measures that Keystone has in place, ensuring that Keystone will be around for many generations to come. I also wish to thank the Schuylkill Conservation District for their aid and sponsorship of the Growing Greener grant.”

“Small businesses play a large role in protecting and preserving the environment in many communities,” said Keystone Potato Products Project Engineer Cory Schlegel. “Keystone Potato is no exception. This project has helped Keystone maintain environmental compliance and it is also helping to restore a watershed impacted by Acid Mine Drainage. This new treatment system is presently removing an average of 11 pounds per day of iron and manganese, which would otherwise reach the Swatara Creek watershed.  The system is capable of removing over 30 pounds per day at full capacity.”

“The Schuylkill Conservation District has been actively working to improve water quality by reducing the effects of abandoned mine drainage,” said Schuylkill Conservation District Manager Elizabeth A. Hinkel. “We are always pleased to support other businesses, organizations, and individuals who are striving to do the same.”

Senator David G. Argall (R-29) was on hand to applaud the work of Keystone Potato Products as well as the Schuylkill Conservation District.

“This forward-thinking initiative will take abandoned mine wastewater and utilize it in a way that is helpful for both the environment and local business,” Argall said. “A decent portion of the funding that made this new system possible is due to the impact fee Marcellus Shale natural gas companies pay in Pennsylvania. This new system will assist in both the region’s economic and environmental vitality for many years.”

Keystone Potato Products secured a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program totaling $293,898 through the Schuylkill Conservation District, and another grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Acid Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment Program totaling $274,347.

Funding for DCED’s program comes from the impact fee leveraged on Marcellus Shale drilling gas companies.


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