Groundwater recovery problems associated with opencast mine backfills
The research outlined in this thesis is concerned with the environmental aspects of groundwater re-establishment as a consequence of surface mining. No principal effects which have been identified as being detrimental to the restored land area are as follows; i). The vertical and horizontal displacements of backfill materials following restoration, and ii). The pollution of groundwater from contact with weathered rockfill materials. The research into settlement has attempted to classify the types of movement which may occur within a backfill mass, in particular the differential movements which are of great importance to the stability of proposed structures or surface drainage. The field results from 10 opencast mine sites are presented, 3 of which were instrumented for detailed field investigations. It has been shown that backfill movements do not necessarily show similar trends under similar conditions, and reasons for this are proposed. A variety of instrumentation schemes have been devised to examine backfill displacements, both vertically and horizontally. Permeability testing has been conducted at different horizons the backfill mass in order to locate the zones of collapse settlement due to groundwater recovery. A critical review of the instrumentation utilised in the investigations is presented, with suggestions for improvement. Investigations into groundwater pollution have been devoted to examining the qualities of groundwater flowing into British surface mines and evaluating its likely reactions with fill materials. An insight into general groundwater pollution and treatment techniques is presented together with a critical analysis of their applicability, to British conditions. An investigation into water qualities in each of the six geographical regions of the opencast mining industry of Great Britain is detailed. Finally some suggestions for future research areas are indicated.