The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, December 01, 1899, Image 7

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    jig machines came into use, is 25,000,000 tons, and the total
amount of waste coal for that period is about one fourth of
the amount of coal sold. In spite, however, of the means of
reducing the waste coal just mentioned, the total quantity of
culm accumulated since 1853, when breakers were first used
is something appalling. Up to 1896, 43 million tons was
the estimated amount of waste coal that had accumulated
since 1853, about the Pennsylvania mines,—a quantity large
enough to cover the state of Rhode Island evenly with a
mass of good coal 125 feet high.
Not only is there that amount of good coal wasted; but
the question of land upon which to put the waste heaps be
.comes a very serious one, especially in the Wyoming Valley,
where the land is notably good farming land. The culm
ought not to be put on top of the mine as it increases the
clanger of the mine sinking. It must not be put where it
may be washed into water courses by rains, as it is then li
able to be spread in the time of floods over farming land,
'thus injuring the fertility of the soil. Several lawsuits have
arisen regarding cases of the latter sort, in which the min
ing companies were often the losers.
All these things, realized more and more as the mining
41. f anthracite coal became more extensive, gave importance
to the question of what to do with the culm heaps. •
It was once thought that the supply of coal was inex
haustible, and as a result the fact that such large quantities of
.good coal were thrown' away excited but little concern, and
the great culm heaps were disposed of in all sorts of wasteful
ways, The railroad companies were given permission to
use them for grading and ballasting, and where the sinking
of a mine was the cause of a certain length of track losing
its foundations, which occasionally happened, the culm
heaps went to fill up the gap. Many companies used their
culm for filling up old mines in order to prevent the latter
from caving in. The real value of the cubit heaps as mar
ltetable coal Was for a long time unthonght of, chiefly be-
A/Ithacan. Coal IVaste,