An Investigation of Slope Effects on the Efficiency of Capillary Barriers to Control AMD
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2000
Covers with capillary barrier effects (CCBE) have been used in recent years as gas barriers for the isolation of wastes, including reactive mine tailings. Capillary barrier effects help to maintain a high degree of saturation in the moisture retaining layer, which then reduces gas flux. Various factors affect the degree of saturation of the moisture retaining layer in a CCBE, such as the material water retention characteristics and layer thickness. Slope geometry can also influence the hydrogeological behaviour of a CCBE, but this factor has frequently been ignored in the past. In this paper, the authors show some results of a numerical study that illustrates the influence of slope on the behavior of capillary barriers made of different types of material. The numerical model calculations are based on an actual case of a CCBE constructed in northern Quebec. This investigation shows that the water content profile is greatly affected by the position along the slope. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate the influence of the geometry to properly establish the performance of a cover system.