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Making Art Out of Mine Pollution in Water

SHAVERTOWN – T-Shirts tied up tight and a bright red color mixed up to dye them in.  This arts and crafts project at Hillside Farms in Shavertown appears like any other, but the kids said there’s a secret to the solution.

“We`re making tie-dye out of something from the creek that they clean up,” said Stanley Shimko of Wilkes-Barre.

Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation has partnered with this Water Camp run by Pennsylvania American Water. Together they teach dozens of kids how a pollutant from coal mining can actually be put to some good use coloring these shirts.

“We found a way to sort of reuse and recycle basically rust and turn it into something fun,” said Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation Executive Director Robert Hughes.

“It`s a great way for the kids to learn about some of our history in this area, some of our heritage, but also some of the impacts that had on the water supply system in this area,” said PA American Water External Affairs Manager Susan Turcmanovich.

The final product looks a little something like this – a bright brick red tie-dye color t-shirt.  But that`s not the only way this iron oxide pollutant is being reused in our area.

“Members of the Wyoming Valley Art League up in the Scranton area the FFA Gallery have done art shows with us where they use the Iron Oxide in mixed media in both acrylic and venetian oils,” said Hughes.

For these young artists, the iron oxide solution made works of art they were proud of.

“Yeah I was really surprised,” said Jennifer Zemitro  of Warrior Run.

Happy to make something useful out of something so toxic for wildlife and our water.

“Because you`re not polluting the land with it and you`re recycling and you should reuse stuff,” said Stephen Brdaric of Wilkes-Barre.


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