Current Status of Wingfield Pines & the AMD System
We hope you’re aware of and able to enjoy the benefits of Wingfield Pines that enhance our communities’ quality of life. By providing preserved biodiversity, air quality, and wildlife habitat, Wingfield Pines creates a beautiful space for nature to thrive and for us to enjoy while hiking, biking, birding, dog-walking, and attending environmental education events for all ages. Beyond these benefits, Wingfield Pines’ Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) treatment system maintains and enhances water quality by preventing mine water from polluting Chartiers Creek.
As you may know, an unfortunate subsurface mine rupture occurred in November 2017 that has caused water to flow outside of the treatment system, resulting in polluted water flowing again directly into Chartiers Creek just as it did prior to ALT’s ownership.
Restoring the effectiveness of this system as soon as possible is ALT’s greatest stewardship priority. We’re working with the PA Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, and a local geotechnical engineering firm to develop a solution that will restore the AMD system to its full effectiveness by Spring 2019. This solution will require work to be completed over the next several months on Allegheny Land Trust property and several adjacent properties.
Latest Activity at Wingfield Pines:
- A temporary generator has been installed, and will relocate from the shed location to another location as needed. The generator will be in place for a few weeks to power the pumps that will work to redirect water flow while the fix is underway.
- Great news! On the afternoon of 2/15, water returned to the ponds! While the fix isn’t complete, the water’s return to the system is cause for celebration for Chartiers Creek’s water quality, and for the flora and fauna that utilize the ponds.
- During the week of 3/4, contractors will be excavating trail to install the permanent piping system to connect mine water to the AMD system. For your safety, please keep your distance from the construction zone.
Please be aware that trails may be temporarily closed for visitor access throughout the project. For questions, comments, or concerns, call ALT’s V.P. of Stewardship Emilie Rzotkiewicz at 412-741-2750 (x201).
Wingfield Pines is located within the townships of Upper St. Clair and South Fayette in the southwestern corner of Allegheny County. It is situated within the floodplain of Chartiers Creek, which meanders along the western edge of the property. It was formerly a site plagued by Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD); we were able to hire environmental engineer Bob Hedin to implement an aesthetically pleasing passive treatment system that visitors can walk through to watch the water transition from murky orange to natural, clean clear water flowing into Chartiers Creek.
Initially, a priority for protection due to its ability to hold and filter water during periods of heavy flooding, Wingfield Pines is now a community hub for recreation and education in the immersive wetlands that offer an outdoor laboratory for students from local high schools, universities, and educational programs. There is also a one-mile loop of flat trail at the bottom of the access road attracting four- and two-legged visitors alike.
Throughout the year, the conservation area is open dawn to dusk for passive recreation and is a favorite destination for many local hikers, bikers, and boaters who access Chartiers Creek from the Wingfield Pines launch site.
Parking is available in the lot next to the roadside Wingfield Pines sign. The gate is normally closed and the main property sits at the bottom of the access road. If the parking area is full, please park in the Recreation Center lot across the street.
Wingfield Pines has an updated Land Use & Pet Policy. More information at this link.
The land has seen more than of its share of use and abuse. Strip-mined in the 1940’s, and later turned into the Wingfield Pines Golf and Swim Club, Wingfield Pines is among several restoration and enhancement projects undertaken in the Chartiers Valley. It follows the trend of green corridors and ecological parks that are currently being developed in this watershed.
Allegheny Land Trust purchased the 87-acre conservation area in December 2001. The acquisition was made possible in part by a PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant. Other funders included the Henry Hillman Foundation, USC Citizens for Land Stewardship, and the William and Francis Aloe Charitable Trust.
Working in conjunction with local environmental groups, we designed and implemented a passive treatment system to address the Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) problem on the site. The system mitigates 43 tons of iron oxides flowing into Chartiers Creek. Completed in 2009, the system operates by gravity and treats iron-laden mine discharge that is running at 1,500 – 2,000 gallons per minute across the property before it enters Chartiers Creek. The AMD treatment system occupies approximately 20 – 25 acres of the 87-acre site. In addition to recovering iron oxide from the water, the system accommodates trails, a wetland boardwalk, overlooks, and interpretative signage providing educational opportunities.