Since 1995, when pumps were withdrawn from deep mines in East Fife (Scotland), mine waters have been rebounding throughout the coalfield. Recently, it has become necessary to pump and treat these waters to prevent their uncontrolled emergence at the surface. However, even relatively shallow pumping to surface treatment lagoons of the initially chemically-stratified mine water from a shaft in the coastal Frances Colliery during two dynamic step-drawdown tests to establish the hydraulic characteristics of the system resulted in rapid breakdown of the stratification within 24 h and a poor pumped water quality with high dissolved Fe loading. Further, data are presented here of hydrochemical and isotopic sampling of the extended pump testing lasting up to several weeks. The use in particular of the environmental isotopes d18O, d2H, d34S, 3H, 13C and 14C alongside hydrochemical and hydraulic pump test data allowed characterisation of the Frances system dynamics, mixing patterns and water quality sources feeding into this mineshaft under continuously pumped conditions. The pumped water quality reflects three significant components of mixing: shallow freshwater, seawater, and leakage from the surface treatment lagoons. In spite of the early impact of recirculating lagoon waters on the hydrochemistries, the highest Fe loadings in the longer-term pumped waters are identified with a mixed freshwater–seawater component affected by pyrite oxidation/melanterite dissolution in the subsurface system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology