The Aultman Watershed Association for Restoring the Environment (AWARE) was started in February 2000 by concerned citizens from Indiana County who felt compelled to clean up the Aultmans Run Watershed. This area, nearly 30 square miles in total, empties into the Conemaugh River behind the Army Corps of Engineers dam, and it has abundant potential as a habitat and recreation corridor. This potential has been threatened by pollution, hazards, illegal dumping, and eyesores typical of historic mining activities.
Through the dedication of its members and partners, and the support of state and county institutions and representatives, AWARE has made great strides. An Environmental Stewardship Fund grant enabled AWARE to complete a watershed assessment. Fourteen acid mine drainage (AMD) sites were monitored, which provided AWARE with a solid base of information for subsequent remediation projects. Its first project was a passive wetland treatment system constructed in 2003 to remove iron from a discharge passing beneath Route 286, south of Aultman. This ESF-funded success typically lowers iron concentrations from around 12-14 mg/l to 2-4 mg/l where the treated water enters Aultmans Run.