SEEPAGE CHARACTERISTICS THROUGH AN ABANDONED TAILINGS PILE

Twelve tailings piles have been installed in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District in northern Idaho since 1968. Several of these ponds have recently been filled and abandoned. The abandonment of mine tailings piles may have detrimental effects on the water resource system in the immediate area by leaching of precipitation through the pile material. The Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology and the University of Idaho, College of Mines in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Mines have conducted a study to determine the hydrogeological factors that control the movement of ground water through the abandoned Page tailings pile in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District in northern Idaho. A data collection network was designed to collect data on ground water potential and ground water quality. Analysis of water level data showed the existence of a ground water mound under the east portion of the tailings pile. The flow system in the pile is dynamic and responds both to precipitation events and to periods of no recharge. A finite element steady-state mathematical model was constructed to analyze the ground water flow system in the Page pile. A sampling and testing program of the pile provided information on values of hydraulic conductivity. This data was incorporated as input to the mathematical model. Operation of the model showed that the location and fluctuations of the regional ground water table and the quantity of recharge to the tailings pile from precipitation were the primary controlling factors for the location and height of the ground water mound under the east side of the pile. A sewage lagoon system was installed on the abandoned pile after the beginning of this study. A previous study reported on the water level rises resulting from the construction and filling of the lagoons. Output data from operation of the model with the sewage lagoons system located on the pile showed similar water level rises. The model results indicated a maximum potential leakage of seven percent of inflows.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The Symposium held on April 2-4 1975 at Moscow, Idaho, was jointly sponsored by Idaho Transportation Department University of Idaho, Moscow; Idaho State University Pocatello; and Boise State University.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Idaho Department of Highways

    P.O Box 7129
    Boise, ID  United States  83707
  • Authors:
    • Morilla, A G
    • Fortier, D H
  • Publication Date: 1975-4

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00127661
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 10 1976 12:00AM