Mine Water Vs. Drinking Water?Technical Execution and Legal Relationship in Germany

Papst, Tobias U.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2014
The German Ruhrgebiet is slowly transitioning into a post-mining state. It has been subjected to industrial-grade hard coal mining operations for more than 150 years. Due to a political decision, German hard coal mining will come to an end in 2018. By then the surface will have subsided up to 20 meters. After all mining activities in the area have ended, there will be no need to maintain the current mine water level. Accordingly, the company operating the last remaining coal mines has decided to let the water level rise to an as yet undetermined level. Alongside other issues that may be caused by rising groundwater levels, the protection of the area?s drinking water supply is of utmost importance. This notion is also represented by European and German law. The primary intent of the applicable laws is to protect the health of the citizenship. This means protecting ground water that may be used by humans from being contaminated by the mine water. This paper outlines the consequences of European and German legislature on mining aftercare using the example of one of Europe?s largest agglomerations.
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