Water Quality Impacts of a Lead/Zinc Mine in Northwest Alaska

by Joyce Beelman, Alaska Department of Environmental, Conservation, Fairbanks, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


In order to assure that water quality in the Red Dog Creek/lkalukrok Creek/Wulik River watershed returned to pre-mining conditions, the order required that water quality and fish tissue monitoring studies be done during the ensuing winter, that Cominco take the immediate remedial action of pumping the seeps along Red Dog Creek to the wastewater treatment facility, and that Cominco implement an approved plan to halt and prevent the introduction of additional metals into the creek which exceed historic naturally occurring levels. This plan, called the Mine Water Management system, was implemented in 1991. It consists of a lined conduit to move waters uncontaminated by metals around the Red Dog Mine ore body, and a parallel collection ditch with a dam/sump system to collect surface and groundwater mine drainage contaminated with heavy metals. The contaminated water which collects in the sump above the dam is pumped to the tailings impoundment for subsequent treatment at the wastewater treatment facility.

Subject Headings: Water treatment plants | Water quality | Mines and mining | Rivers and streams | Pumps | Wastewater treatment plants | Water conservation | Quality control | Alaska | United States

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