Modelling remediation scenarios in historical mining catchments

Abstract

Local remediation measures, particularly those undertaken in historical mining areas, can often be ineffective or even deleterious because erosion and sedimentation processes operate at spatial scales beyond those typically used in point-source remediation. Based on realistic simulations of a hybrid landscape evolution model combined with stochastic rainfall generation, we demonstrate that similar remediation strategies may result in differing effects across three contrasting European catchments depending on their topographic and hydrologic regimes. Based on these results, we propose a conceptual model of catchment-scale remediation effectiveness based on three basic catchment characteristics: the degree of contaminant source coupling, the ratio of contaminated to non-contaminated sediment delivery, and the frequency of sediment transport events.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to G. de Giudici and V. Iordache for the logistic support in Sardinia and Romania. Two anonymous referees also provided advice. The research was funded by the EU FP7 UMBRELLA project, Aberystwyth University, and the Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research. Thanks also to E. Kothe and G. Büchel for the organization and support provided to the UMBRELLA project, as well as the rest of European participants.

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Correspondence to Javier G. P. Gamarra or Paul A. Brewer.

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Gamarra, J.G.P., Brewer, P.A., Macklin, M.G. et al. Modelling remediation scenarios in historical mining catchments. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 6952–6963 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2170-3

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Keywords

  • CAESAR landscape evolution model
  • TRACER
  • Mine remediation
  • Stochastic rainfall simulation
  • Sediment-associated contaminant dispersal