DEP Awards Funding to Help Homeowners Identify Potential Mine Subsidence Risks

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded grants to two Pennsylvania universities and one non-governmental organization to improve efforts to educate homeowners of mine subsidence risks by converting old paper maps of underground coal mines into electronic formats for use by DEP and state and local governments. This updated information will be used to help homeowners identify areas where mine subsidence could occur and damage homes.

“Pennsylvania’s mining heritage is a proud one, but it’s also one that didn’t come with electronic GIS maps. By digitizing the maps that DEP has, and continues to find, we can get a better, more complete view of where mines are under Pennsylvania.” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “I encourage all Pennsylvania residents to check to see their own risk for subsidence at http://www.depgis.state.pa.us/msiRisk/.”

Grants were awarded to Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU).

Three grants totaling $2.25 million were awarded to scan, georeferenced, and vectorize maps of closed and abandoned underground coal mines in Pennsylvania. The grant-funded projects will georeference 21,200 maps, vectorize 2,176 square miles of mined areas including 132 coal seams, and scan 10,500 maps.

The projects funded by the Mine Map Grant Program will enhance the quality, quantity and delivery of mining information to the millions of residents living in northeastern and western Pennsylvania, where mining is most common. Updated mine maps can provide better information for homeowners who may be at risk for mine subsidence, something not covered by regular homeowners’ insurance policies. Up-to-date mine maps can also be important to businesses interesting in building in historic mining areas of Pennsylvania or companies developing oil and gas resources in those areas of the state.

The Mine Map Grant Program provides funding to learning institutions and incorporated nonprofit organizations to process mine maps and mine data into electronic formats that can be used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other computer applications. The information is available free to anyone interested in viewing or downloading the GIS files of historic mines through the Pennsylvania Mine Map Atlas at www.minemaps.psu.edu. For more information on mine subsidence risk, please visit: http://www.depgis.state.pa.us/msiRisk/

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