Research and analysis

Attenuation of mine pollutants in the hyporheic zone

A literature review of the current state of knowledge on attenuation processes that attenuate mining-derived pollutants at the groundwater-surface water interface.


Attenuation of mine pollutants in the hyporheic zone

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The report reveals gaps in this field of research, where further studies are required to answer the following questions:

  • How important, quantitatively, is the hyporheic zone in governing the overall loading of metal contaminants to rivers, and how does it affect the proportions of mine pollution arising as point sources or diffuse sources?
  • What are the key biogeochemical processes, and associated rates, that result in the attenuation of metals in the hyporheic zone, and could these processes be recreated in a treatment system to remove some of the ‘problematic’ metals such as manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn) and lead (Pb)?
  • What is the most appropriate, and accurate, method for monitoring the hyporheic zone to answer these questions?
  • Is it feasible to resolve the scale-dependence of these biogeochemical processes, in order to understand the role of the hyporheic zone in mine water-affected freshwaters for entire catchments?
Published 1 June 2006