Technicolor poison, image by Julie Bargmann.

Images by Julie Bargmann showcase the site's acid mine drainage and how its passive water treatment ponds now filter out contaminants.

Another poster child for the reclamation of disturbed lands: AMD&ART Park in Vintondale, PA.  By the mid-’90s, coal mining in this part of Appalachia had resulted in severe acid mine drainage (AMD) into waterways and general public resignation to a major environmental hazard.  A long-neglected 35-acre site that had hosted both a coal mining operation and a town dump was particularly riddled with AMD and caught the imagination of historic preservationist T. Allan Comp.  Over the following 10 years, and with the eventual financial support of the EPA, Comp brought together a diverse group of residents, scientists, artists, and volunteers in an effort to use art and ecological design to rehabilitate the contaminated land and return it into the custody of the local community.

Open since 2005, AMD&ART Park includes picnic areas, baseball and soccer fields and a volleyball court; a series of passive water treatment ponds that progressively draws contaminants out of the site’s water; seven acres of now-vibrant wetlands that thrive on the treated water; and various ecological art installations that reflect on the site’s history and transformation, including a native tree arboretum called “Litmus Garden” whose trees range in fall foliage to mirror the colors of the water at each stage of the treatment system (red, orange and yellow, green and white).  The park recently won a prestigious Phoenix Award for excellence in brownfield remediation and redevelopment.  This 2007 article in Orion Magazine offers a more complete narrative about the site and its transformation.

(via Pruned)

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