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Seepage-environmental Analysis of the Slime Zone of a Tailings Pond.

Kealy CD; Busch RA; McDonald MM
NTIS: PB 236 989 :89 pages
Dissolved and suspended solids are present in the free water of tailings ponds. This Bureau of Mines study was designed to identify the influences of the slime zone in preventing these solids from reaching the environment outside the tailings pond. The finite- element method was used to determine the rate of discharge of subsurface water from the van stone tailings pond in northern Washington. The slime zone was sampled and tested for the first time, and results were interpreted and incorporated into the mathematical model. Computer results were verified by installing and monitoring piezometers in the field and by a simulated (16- by 1/2- by 3-foot) laboratory model. Output from the numerical model defined critical seepage zones and revealed that proper pond design and maintenance can reduce pond seepage losses to a minimum. Minimization of seepage requires maintaining the pond water level over the slime zone. Sufficient physical, chemical, and limnological data were collected and analyzed to conclude that the only realistic reflection of synergistic effects is obtained by study of the indigenous biota in combination with quantitative chemical and physical data. Proper planning and management of the milling and waste disposal operations are the key to minimal pollution.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
RI 7939
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 236 989
Page last reviewed: October 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division