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Distribution and environmental impact of coal-mining wastes in Upper Silesia, Poland
About 50 million tonnes/year of waste rock from coal-mining is generated in the limited area of the thickly populated Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) in Poland. There are 380 coal-mining waste dumps, including 76 active dump sites covering over 2,000 ha. About 15-16 million tonnes/year of waste rock is being reused for civil engineering purposes in the same area. This brings about a problem of ground water deterioration by constituents leached from waste rock exposed to atmospheric conditions. The major factors determining the ground water contamination potential from waste rock are chloride salinity, sulfur content and acid generation potential. The concept behind the presented studies was to provide data for correct evaluation and prediction of contaminant release from the waste rock, based on the characterization of coal-mining waste properties, as well as on long-term laboratory, lysimetric and field studies. The results show that coal-mining waste dumps can be a long-term source of ground water contamination, lasting for decades and increasing with time. Ground water down-gradient from the disused 15-30-years-old part of the studied dump displays high and increasing acidification, high TDS, SO4, and the highest, still increasing concentrations of Mn, Fe and Zn. Cost-effective and efficient pollution control measures, similar to the presented design and construction elements of the dump site, can mitigate the negative environmental impacts.
ISSN : 0943-0105
Environmental geology (Berlin) A. 1999, vol. 38, n° 3, pp. 249-258 [Illustrations : Tableau] [bibl. : 19 ref.]
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