British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The use of routine monitoring data for assessment and prediction of water chemistry Morin, Kevin A. (Kevin Andrew), 1955-; Hutt, Nora M.


Mining companies collect and analyze numerous water samples every year to protect the environment and to meet permit requirements. Through the years, the collective number of analyses at any minesite can extend into the thousands. This water-quality database is periodically reported to mine administration and regulatory agencies, and then often lies dormant until the next report. A water-quality database can be used for much more than monitoring environmental conditions and meeting permit requirements. Through the years, the database becomes a valuable scientific tool for the further assessment and prediction of water chemistry. The scientific value is derived from several attributes, including (1) the abundance of data which permits valid statistical analyses and (2) the composite variability in chemistry due to natural processes such as temperature variations and artificial factors such as analytical error. This paper presents the concepts behind this approach for assessment and prediction, the limiting assumptions, and examples from an actual water-chemistry database in British Columbia. The mathematical validity of the approach is demonstrated by an accompanying paper at this symposium using an intensive database of daily and hourly sampling.

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