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Long-term changes in water quality downstream of three abandoned metal mines

Todd, AML, Robertson, I, Walsh, RPD, Byrne, P, Edwards, P and Williams, T (2024) Long-term changes in water quality downstream of three abandoned metal mines. Journal of Hydrology, 634. ISSN 0022-1694

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Abandoned metal mines pollute rivers with both acidic and circumneutral metal-rich waters, sometimes from well-mapped mines, but often from long-abandoned adits with limited historical records. Changes in water quality over the monitored timescales were calculated for three mines across Wales (Nantymwyn, Parys Mountain and Frongoch), each abandoned since the early 20th century. Using all available spot sampling data provided by the environmental regulator, it was found that there was a sustained input of metals to the receiving watercourses with no or limited reduction in the concentrations from the mines without remediation, despite the passage of time and impacts of weathering. At Nantymwyn, comparison with five months’ sampling in 2019 showed no significant change (p >0.05) in metal concentrations compared to the same months in 1985. Parys Mountain showed an increase in filtered zinc concentrations of 2 % between 2004 and 2020. At Frongoch, however, a substantial reduction in its environmental impact was observed after remediation, including a 90 % reduction in total lead concentrations. Realisation that the pollution from these sites does not reduce over the decades since abandonment should galvanize the resolve to understand the highest priority sites, and where possible remediate them.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environmental Engineering
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2024 11:58
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 12:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2024.131011
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22844
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