By Nick Cato, Shahid Mahmud
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Additional info for Abandoned Mine Site Characterization and Cleanup Handbook
In particular, tailings impoundments are nearly always accompanied by unavoidable and often necessary seepage of mill effluent through or beneath the dam structure. Such seepage results from the uncontrolled percolation of stored water or precipitation downward through foundation materials or through the embankment. Failure to maintain hydrostatic pressure within and behind the embankment below critical levels may result in partial or complete failure of the structure, causing releases of tailings and contained mill effluent to surrounding areas.
Water erosion may be described as the process by which soil particles are detached, suspended, and transported from their original location. Sedimentation is the byproduct of erosion, whereby eroded particles are deposited at a different location from their origin. The factors influencing erosion and sedimentation are interrelated and all relate to either the impact of precipitation or runoff velocity and volume. Sedimentation is considered the final stage in the erosion process; thus, the mechanisms affecting erosion also affect sedimentation.
As mentioned earlier, collaborative watershed partnerships are more likely to be an effective sounding board for determining the values and choices which will focus abandoned mine site efforts. ” The data quality objectives (DQO) process is a systematic planning effort for ensuring that environmental data will be adequate for their intended use. This process is key to abandoned mine site work in order to integrate the desired goals and objectives with information appropriate for the necessary decisions, and lastly the ability to measure success towards established goals.