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Environmental impact of mine drainage and its treatment on aquatic communities

Auladell Mestre, Montserrat (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

An ecological and chemical analysis of eight Welsh streams impacted by mine drainage is used to discern the effects of water and sediment related variables and elucidate the most important variables in the impact of mine pollution on freshwater macroinvertebrate communities. The implications of this are to be considered for improving mine water remediation techniques and work towards the achievement of the environmental objectives set by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). Streams impacted by coal and metal mine drainage present a clear ecological impact in response to water and sediment related variables, demonstrating that both sediment and water are key aspects in mine drainage pollution of freshwater ecosystems. However, the WFD does not include metal concentration guidelines for sediments, neither has the UK set mandatory standards for them, and sediments are not currently being routinely monitored or remediated in the UK. To achieve the environmental objectives set by the WFD, the Coal Authority and the Environment Agency are constructing several engineered wetlands in the UK to treat mine drainage. One of these constructed engineered wetlands was seen to successfully remediate mine water removing trace metals and suspended solids and increasing pH and dissolved oxygen. However, the remediation scheme seemed to fail to improve the electrolyte status of the water and stream sediment quality. As a result, the benthic community in the receiving stream appeared to have a poor recovery.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Batty, Lesley and Sadler, Jonathan
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects:GE Environmental Sciences
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1205
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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