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Analysis of Water Movement in an Underground Lead-zinc Mine, Coeur d'Alene Mining District, Idaho.

Erikson DL
MISSING :115 pages
Current national pollutant discharge elimination system regulations require that acid mine drainage continue to be treated as long as the source exists, which makes acid mine drainage from abandoned mines a particular concern. One-time reclamation procedures should be sought as an alternative to perpetual treatment. An understanding of the ground water flow systems recharging a mine is necessary for the successful design and selection of reclamation alternatives. A large underground lead-zinc mine in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District of northern Idaho produces an average discharge of about 3.4 Cfs with a ph of 2.8 and zinc concentration of 120 mg/l. The mine is located in fractured quartzite and argillite. Analysis of hydrographs collected from selected portions of the internal drainage of the mine along with analysis of mine maps and geologic records suggest that flow in the aquifers surrounding the mine is controlled by fractures along major southeast-trending faults. The mine acts as a huge drain or well that stresses the system. Results suggest a hierarchial distribution of hydraulic conductivity that ranges from high in the southeast-trending fault systems to nil in the unfractured country rock bounded by the faults. Reclamation will probably be accomplished best by diversion of surface streams and interflow past the outcrops of the major faults or by underground measures to divert water from the faults before the water quality is degraded.
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
MIR 4-85
NIOSH Division
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Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division