Sunday, September 19, 2021

Flight 93 Crashed Among Coal Mines. Treating the Water There Was No Ordinary Project - alleghenyfront.org

Last updated Tuesday, September 7, 2021 15:15 ET , Source: NewsService

Patrick White has spent a lot of time at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, and he knows it well: its rolling, forested hills, its stretches of grassland, its rows of mountains in shades of blue.

Over the years, he’s also visited one of the site’s lesser-known landmarks tucked behind reeds and wildflowers: a chain of bright orange ponds that treat contaminated groundwater from old mines before it enters Lamberts Run and, eventually, the Stonycreek River.

To him, it’s like the memorial’s circulatory system.

“The waters are pumped up to the surface and treated and run through the series of ponds like chambers of the heart,” White said. “It’s natural and able to add to the flowing volume of the local waterways.”

This is coal country, and ponds like these are scattered across the landscape.

But to White and others, the ponds here are different. They were the answer to a problem that briefly threatened the creation of the memorial itself. And even at a distance of more than a decade, how they came to be still carries weight for some of the people who were involved in the work.

White is a retired lawyer who represented the families of Flight 93’s passengers and crew during negotiations over the tracts of land that would become the memorial grounds. His cousin, Louis “Joey” Nacke, took the flight that morning, Sept. 11, 2001. Those onboard fought the hijackers and stopped the plane from reaching its intended destination, believed to be the U.S. Capitol.

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