Catchment-scale assessments of the effects of abandoned metal mines on groundwater quality and stream ecology

Banks, Vanessa J.; Palumbo-Roe, Barbara; Wood, Paul J.; Chenery, Simon R.; Reid, Emma J.. 2010 Catchment-scale assessments of the effects of abandoned metal mines on groundwater quality and stream ecology. In: 8th BLRS Conference 2010 : Restoration and Recovery : Regenerating Land and Communities, South Wales, 7-9 Sept 2010. (Unpublished)

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This paper presents an overview of a British Geological Survey catchment-scale research project designed to quantify catchment-derived metal loading on surface water quality. This work is focused on the Rookhope Burn, a tributary of the River Wear in the North Pennines, UK. The river has been identified in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) River Basin Management report as being at risk of failing to achieve Good Status due to mines and minewater pressures. Although geologically relatively simple, the catchment is hydrogeologically complex in that it comprises an area of entrenched karst, characterised by Lower Carboniferous Limestone exposed in the base of valleys overlain by Namurian strata, comprising interbedded shales, sandstones and limestones, which are capped by drained blanket peat. Metal loadings in this catchment result from lead and zinc mineralization and its historic exploitation and processing, which have resulted in both point source and diffuse impacts within the catchment. There have been three main phases of research: (i) collection of hydrological and water chemistry data to enable loading and mass balance calculations to be undertaken; (ii) development of a conceptual understanding of the hydrology and hydrogeology of the catchment, and (iii) application of the hydrological understanding to more recent baseline monitoring of ecological impacts. This work has identified previously unreported mine and groundwater contributions to the catchment, which may have significant implications for the design of remedial measures in the catchment.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Minerals and waste
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater quality, Point source pollution, Groundwater ecology
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 15 Oct 2010 13:48 +0 (UTC)

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