Public Comments Sought on Contaminated Mine Lands Drainage Projects at Big South Fork

Oneida, TN (2018-08-15) In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Park Service is releasing a Contaminated Mine Drainage Mitigation and Treatment; Programmatic and Site Specific Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for review and comment.  A public meeting regarding the statement will be held in Huntsville on August 29.

The purpose of DEIS project is to address contaminated mine drainage remediation and to create a programmatic approach to considering future treatment options at former mining sites throughout the entire park.  These actions will address the need to improve water quality in tributaries of the Big South Fork River.

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area region has been extensively mined for coal since the early 1900s, and mining waste materials were typically dumped near the mines.  Surface and groundwater that comes in contact with mine spoils or that is discharged from the mines is often acidic and has elevated concentrations of heavy metals.  Contaminated mine drainage pollutes aquatic systems and is considered to be partly responsible for a reduction in biological diversity of lakes and streams in the Big South Fork area.

The National Park Service would like to hear any comments on the scope of the proposed project by Monday, September 17, 2018.

There will also be three public meetings in August for open discussion regarding the DEIS:

  • August 28, 2018 – Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • August 29, 2018 – Huntsville, Tennessee
  • August 30, 2018 – Stearns, Kentucky

Updates for information on the public meetings can be located on the park’s website at  For more information, please contact the park headquarters at (423) 569-9778.