Mines,Stockpiles, Tailings and also Spoil Contaminants in drinking Water


Run-off indigenous mines and also stockpiles posture a hazard to drinkingwater sources because of the release of salts, metals, and also aciddrainage. Removed of salts and metals from water resourcesis challenging and an extremely costly. Metals might adhere to soilparticles, making them virtually difficult to remove.

Mines Coal and also metal piece mines room a resource of water contaminationdue to the relax of metals and also acid. Sulfuric mountain is formedwhen sulfides, such as pyrite space exposed come air and also water. Thisis referred to as acid mine drainage. As the sulfuric acidpercolates through neighboring rock, steels are dissolved andreleased right into the water stream. Gold, copper, and also uranium minescan attitude a major threat come surface and also groundwater v therelease of toxic metals,such together copper, and also radioisotopes. Reclamation of these watersare a serious challenge. Part mines produce such huge flows ofacidic metallic water that they have actually been designated by the eco-friendly ProtectionAgency (EPA) as Superfund sites.

Rural water supplies in the vicinities that mines might be in ~ riskfor contamination. Public water supplies are monitored and maximum contaminant level (MCLs)have been established for particular metals and also acid concentration(pH) in drinking water. Personal water provides in rural areas arenot monitored and also it is as much as the owner or customer to test and treat their water.

Stockpiles Ground water air pollution from stockpiles is due to unprotectedstorage of building materials which might leach right into soil or run-off intostreams during precipitation or irrigation. This includesde-icing salt at highway maintenance lots, reclaimed metalstockpiles, coal, metallic ores, phosphates, and gypsum (1).Highway salts space made from sodium or calcium chloride, sand, andanti-caking additives such together ferric ferrocyanide and also sodiumferrocyanide. Coal and also metallic ores may reason acidic drainage.Acidic leachate have the right to dissolve metals and also ores release morecontaminants right into the waste stream.

Tailings Tailings room low grades of mining ore that are disposed of on theland surface and also often in mining waste ponds(1). Because they areunlined, these ponds deserve to be a resource of mountain or metals, whichare brought in run-off or leachate.

Spoil Spoil is composed of mining debris and waste. A major source ofacid-mine drainage is iron-sulfide-rich spoil connected withcoal mining, and also spoil from metal sulfide mines, such together copperand yellow mining work (1).


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1. EPA Handbook: Groundwater. Vol. 1: GroundWater and Contamination. September 1990.

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USEPA Office that Researchand Development, Washington DC.