Summary Statements

Williams, Roy E. ; Bloomsburg, George L. ; Ralston, Dale R. ; Winter, Gerry V.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Ground water inflow into a mine and the re¬sultant impact on district hydrology can be pre¬dicted on a site specific basis once the ground water flow systems at the site are sufficiently well under¬stood so that a valid conceptual model can be de¬veloped. Ground water flow systems are controlled by the hydrogeologic properties of the materials at the, site, including hydraulic continuity along flow paths, and boundary conditions. Preliminary delin¬eation of hydrostratigraphic units for conceptual models frequently can be based on surface water data; specifically, spring locations and the gain-loss reaches of streams. Quantitative predictions of mine water inflow and its impact on regional hydrology require col¬lection and analysis of numerous types of data. Hydraulic conductivity must be defined quantita¬tively both parallel and perpendicular to bedding as well as areally for each hydrostratigraphic unit. The characteristics of the Davis shale in case his¬tory number 2 illustrate this concept very well. The storage characteristics also must be determined for each hydrostratigraphic unit and the potential or hydrostatic head should be quantified vertically and areally for each unit. The potentiometric measure¬ments in the Bonneterre Formation as discussed in case history number 2 illustrate this point. The data collection and data analysis techniques constitute the weak link in the analysis of mine inflow and district impact. The technology for char¬acterizing a mine site in the field has lagged behind the technology for mathematical simulation; we at¬tribute this development to the fact that computer modeling is relatively inexpensive compared to field data collection and analysis. On-site tests provide the best means of quan¬tifying hydraulic conductivity parallel to bedding and the storage characteristics of the unit. Pump tests with multiple observation wells provide the best information from on site tests. Hydrogeologie boundaries can be located from such multiple well tests. Multiport piezometers provide a means for determining the vertical potential in a single borehole. Borehole geophysics can facilitate the def¬inition of hydrostratigraphic units. Vertical hy¬draulic conductivity is difficult but not impossible to quantify with existing field test methods; labo¬ratory tests of cores fail to give a value represent¬ative of the field situation. The storage characteristics of a confined (artesian) hydro¬stratigraphic unit can be difficult to quantify when pumping changes the confined unit to an uncon¬fined (water table) case after depressurization and dewatering. Transmissivity and storage coefficient can be approximated to some extent for given field con¬ditions by computer modeling if enough is known about hydrogeologic boundaries. Modeling can be used in a trial-and-error approach to match transmissivity and storage coefficients to existing water level data corresponding to estimated discharge rates. A solution can also be obtained using a tech¬nique referred to as the inverse method. Unfortu¬nately, such a solution is seldom unique. Fracture flow models exist but practicality usu¬ally necessitates reversion to a basic Darcy flow model. Data requirements for fracture flow models could be difficult to fulfill where fracture aperture, spacing, orientation, and length are required. Ob¬taining such data at depth prior to mining would be impossible for any mine simulation in fractured media. We are of the opinion that most fractured media simulations can be accomplished using con¬ventional Darcy flow models by viewing the field problem on a macroscopic scale. The real challenge is to delineate hydrostratigraphic units properly in the field. The question of whether a broken-up fault zone is an aquifer or a barrier boundary is seldom simple. The fractures usually can be treated as an equivalent porous medium in either case. Only a few techniques exist for predicting un¬derground mine water inflow. These techniques fre¬quently are designed to evaluate shaft or tunnel inflow under steady-state head conditions in a sin¬gle layer rather than in multiple hydrostratigraphic units. Few computer programs exist that have the
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