Alcan Lynemouth smelter, geology and hydrogeology in the vicinity of the ash storage lagoons

Lawrence, D.J.D.; Klinck, B.A.. 2002 Alcan Lynemouth smelter, geology and hydrogeology in the vicinity of the ash storage lagoons. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 36pp. (CR/02/055N) (Unpublished)

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The British Geological Survey (BGS) was commissioned by Mr John Clarkson, Alcan Smelting and Power UK, to carry out a desk study of the geology and hydrogeology information of the area around the waste landfill site and ash storage lagoons at Alcan, Lynemouth. The desk study was supplemented by a site visit. A main concern was the possibility that the ash in the lagoons might be contaminated by contact with leachate from the hazardous materials disposed in the landfill. The BGS was asked to provide an independent report on the contamination risk and of the suitability of the ash lagoon test bores plus any existing and proposed groundwater monitoring wells at the Alcan Lynemouth site to detect such contamination. An extensive search was made for previous site investigation reports. The information obtained, in particular the records of over 50 boreholes drilled in the study area since 1990, has been used to review the published geological interpretation and better understand the hydrogeological regime. In general the new information supports the existing solid geological interpretation, but enables improved understanding of the disposition of the superficial deposits including a glacial buried channel. The site is over a minor Coal Measure aquifer, the North Seaton Sandstone, which is underlain by a mudrock aquiclude sequence. Groundwater flow in the sandstone, is dominantly fracture controlled and is to the east. The groundwater system is isolated from the flooded, abandoned mine workings beneath the site where the water level is at about 90 m below Ordnance Datum and slowly rising. Saline intrusion is evident in the aquifer, and the saline interface appears to cut across the axis of the buried glacial channel. An unsaturated zone of sandstone hydraulically separates the landfill and the PFA lagoons from the water table in the North Seaton Sandstone aquifer. It is concluded that it is unlikely that the PFA will become contaminated from the landfill leachate via the groundwater pathway or through direct discharge of leachate through the retaining bunds. The Coal Measure sandstone is overlain, but hydrogeologically unconfined by a glacial till sequence where the flow is probably predominantly vertical through fractures. The landfill operates on the dilute and disperse principle and the limited hydrochemical data available indicates that the groundwater impact diminishes along a flow line from the landfill. The existing series of operational monitoring wells is useful in providing information on water levels to help determine direction of groundwater flow and hydraulic gradient, and chemical data to help determine the extent of saline intrusion from the sea and the extent of dispersion of contaminants from the landfill. However the limited area covered by the wells gives rise to uncertainty in the interpretation. These uncertainties are discussed and possible avenues of investigation and action recommended in order to reduce them. The recommendations include: • Increasing the range of parameters determined in the landfill monitoring wells to include major anions and cations as well as nitrate and ammonia. • Implementing the five additional monitoring wells proposed by URS with specific suggestions for screening of the two proposed on the eastern perimeter of the site • Including a new well, integrated into the monitoring network, at the south-west corner of lagoon 1 • Giving consideration to the complementary approach of building a numerical model for the site

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Other
Funders/Sponsors: NERC, Power UK
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 20 Aug 2010 15:39 +0 (UTC)

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