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Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

In October 2012, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement made available more than $300,000 to the Flight 93 National Memorial, which honors the passengers and crew that prevented terrorists from flying a Boeing 757 jetliner into its reputed target, Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001.

The grant will provide a way to help clean up acid mine drainage water from an underground coal mine near the crash site. To see how the money (which comes from civil penalties levied against mine operators that violated federal mining law) will benefit both the environment and visitors, please take a moment to view the video below.

Photo of Memorial showing flight path

The site sits about five miles from Shanksville, PA, and the memorial’s design acknowledges that Flight 93’s final resting spot is tied closely to coal mining. Note the use of black, signifying coal’s place in this part of Pennsylvania, on the benches and the representation of the aircraft’s flight path.

The memorial is surrounded by an area known as Lambert’s Run, named after the family who owned much of the area. This map shows the various projects now under way to make the memorial a more complete acknowledgement of the sacrifice of the passengers and crew.

Photo of reclamation plan for memorial

Earlier passive methods of cleaning the acid tainted water are effective to a great extent, but not completely. The Families of Flight 93, who now own Lambert’s Run, have asked the various groups to minimize the footprint of the treatment plan, which poses a challenge both from an engineering and aesthetic standpoint.

After a year of study, the Office of Surface Mining determined that aerating the water from an existing pump well system would help separate the iron, increasing water quality.

A passive treatment pond for removing iron from the minewater

But the study also indicated the site and the environment would benefit more with the construction of a wetland area, including a wide diversity of water-borne plants, similar to this previously built pond. Plants are very effective in binding the iron to themselves, removing the mineral from the water.

Another passive treatment pond near the site

Preliminary construction of the wetland area began in late October 2012. The project is expected to be completed in six to eight months.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 5/26/15

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