Environmental impact of mine drainage and its treatment on aquatic communities

Auladell Mestre, Montserrat (2010). Environmental impact of mine drainage and its treatment on aquatic communities. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Coal Authority, UK, Environment Agency, UK
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/1205


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