Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ to Receive Award for Dessecker Mine Reclamation Project
September 3, 2019 - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Abandoned Mine Land Program has won the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation National Award for its work on the Dessecker Mine Project near Dover.
The agency will be honored at the 2019 AML Reclamation Awards in Pittsburgh on Sept. 9.
“Restoring this land clears the way for safe and fun recreation for generations to come,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Congratulations to the community and ODNR’s AML Program staff on this accomplishment.”
Twin brothers Marion and Milton Dessecker operated a coal mine three miles northeast of Dover on Boy Scout Road, beginning in 1947. The last brother died in 2007, and then the family put the property up for sale. It is now owned by Camp Tuscazoar.
Until the restoration project was completed, the mine area was not safe for the public.
“Multiple dangerous problems were left on site including a highwall, two portals, a coal tipple and support structures, and a large pile of steeply sloped coal tailings,” according to ODNR. “The highwall averaged 70 feet in height and was 1,750 feet long. Both portals were open, and all the buildings and tipple were dilapidated and unsafe. The coal tailings pile was 3 acres in size.”
On Aug. 1, 2017, a project began to reclaim the old mine. About 210,000 cubic yards of earthwork was necessary to eliminate the highwall and an additional 18,000 cubic yards to reclaim the tailings pile. Both dangerous mine portals were closed. Twenty-five tons of tires and 500 tons of debris were removed from the site. Also, 1,372 linear feet of stream channel were restored. Contractor for the project was Red Malcuit Inc.
The project was finished on Aug. 20, 2018, at a cost of $745,000.
ODNR worked in partnership with the American Industrial Mining Co. to salvage much of the mining and coal processing equipment left at the site. Some of the equipment has been restored and is on display at American Industrial’s working mine outdoor display in Brownsville, Pa.
In March, 5,000 oak, maple and sweetgum tree seedlings were planted at the site to control erosion.
The AML Reclamation Awards were established in 1992 and recognize exemplary state and tribal reclamation projects for coal mines abandoned before 1977.