Environment: Water & Coal Quality

Measuring water and coal quality

The Environment is High Priority

Water Quality

To meet the stringent standards, a series of carefully designed, constructed and certified settling ponds has been built to collect water draining from active mining areas as well as runoff water from recently reclaimed lands. These ponds are used to bring water into compliance with UCM's discharge permits.  Half of UCM's laboratory is dedicated to water testing. Water is collected during the summer season, approximately 22 weeks out of the year from May to October. In the laboratory, water samples are tested for levels of iron, manganese, settleable and suspended (not filterable) solids, turbidity and pH.  Pond levels, runoff, and precipitation events are all documented.

Coal Quality - "Clean Energy for the Future"

Coal testing and analysis are conducted in the laboratory year-around. Coal is tested for its heating value, as well as for percentage content of moisture, ash, sulfur, volatiles and fixed carbon. Testing has identified that UCM coal is among the lowest sulfur coal produced in the world and the Environmental Protection Agency has stated UCM coal has the lowest sulfur in the nation. Other environmental benefits of the coal include low nitrogen content, a high calcium content and excellent performance in equipment designed to clean exhaust gas emissions. These environmental attributes make Healy coal increasingly attractive as an efficient, clean energy source. UCM's commitment to innovative technology, long-term involvement in Clean Coal Technology, a pioneering reclamation program and dedication to environmental excellence has earned the mine a position of leadership in Alaska and in the U.S. coal industry.