British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Assessment of vegetation change after biosolids treatment : use of remotely sensed vegetation time series Martínez de Saavedra Álvarez, Mar; Brown, Leslie N.; Lim, José B.; Ersahin, Kaan; Borstad, Gary A.; Dickson, Jaimie; Martell, Peter


Highland Valley Copper has run an experimental treatment program for many years, to use treated, de-watered sewage sludge (biosolids) as a supplement to the capping of waste rock and tailings materials before revegetation. This is an attempt to improve water retention on coarse-grained materials, as well as provide a source of nutrients. In 2012, we used the 12-year remotely sensed vegetation time series compiled by Teck and ASL to evaluate the effects of biosolids applications at selected tailings and waste rock sites. The vegetation maps allowed us to compare rates of vegetation change at a number of these treated areas with nearby untreated sites. Though our findings were based on a rather small number of sites, we concluded that while the short-term effects of biosolids on vegetation growth were site dependent, over the longer term (~10 years or more) there was a small, positive effect at all sites, in the form of increased growth rates at biosolids treated sites relative to nearby untreated sites.

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