Mining uses a lot of water to disperse silt, soil, and sand. In places where mines are opened up, many people living close to the mines are rightfully concerned about mining practices. Their well water can be affected by the mining company's ability to keep the ground water clean and safe for human consumption.
Most mining companies are already working hard to protect the environment and protect ground water and nearby bodies of water. The mining companies are heavily regulated for this very purpose. Still, it helps communities understand that the companies are actively involved in water reclamation and purification services. Here is how mining companies are using water reclamation and water treatment and purification services to keep the local water supply clean and safe for everyone.
Using River Water
If mining companies are tapping local river water to aid in their mining processes, then they collect the water via an irrigation pipeline. The water travels to the mines, where it is pumped into tanks. The tanks hold the water until it is pumped into the mines to be used to reduce dust and break down soil to find metals and minerals. Used water is re-collected and channeled into a return pipe that takes the dirty water to a reclamation and purification plant.
At the plant, the dirty water is cycled through a series of steps to bring the water as close to its original makeup and purified content. When the water is tested and deemed safe enough, the clean water is considered "reclaimed," and it is pumped back into the river. This is one type of reclamation.
Collecting Rainwater or Pumping Water in from a Water Treatment Facility
Other mining companies collect rainwater or pump water in from a nearby water treatment facility. The rainwater is used, then collected and sent to a treatment plant. The treatment plant may be owned on mining property nearby, or it may be the nearest city or county water treatment plant.
The water pumped into the mines from a treatment facility is considered "reclaimed" because the water was first collected in the form of sewage, treated to purify it, and then sent to the mines. The mine water is then sent back to the plant for treatment. Regardless of where the water comes from, or how it gets to the mine, all the water is eventually reclaimed.
Water purification can happen at the mining site/camp, too. In this instance, used water is collected and purified inside tanks, or it is emptied into built wells that cannot leak into the ground water. If it is purified in tanks, it is generally filtered and treated with chemicals.
If it is held in walled wells, then a pump truck comes a few times a week to collect the used water from the wells and take the water to a treatment facility. There, the water is added to the rest of the water being treated. The pump trucks may or may not bring water back to the mines after being treated, depending on the arrangement that the mines have with the treatment facility. If the mines do request a return water supply, then purified and treated water is brought back to the mines, where it is stored in tanks until it is needed.
The Process Continues Until the Mines Close or Something Changes
Whichever water treatment process is used is generally the one a mining company continues to use until the mine closes, or until something changes to make the water treatment process more or less expensive than another water treatment process. In the meantime, the government keeps a close eye on mining camps/sites. They send inspectors out once or twice a year to test water quality in the area and to make sure the mining camps are following regulations.
Contact a water treatment company to learn more.Share