An Annual Water Balance for a Surface Mining Overburden Waste Embankment

by Eugene E. Farmer, USDA, Forest Service, Intermountain, Forest & Range Experiment, Station, Logan, UT, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management in the Eighties


The embankment contained a volume of 257 thousand cubic yards and resulted from a phosphate surface mining operation in southeastern Idaho. The elevation of the embankment is about 7500 feet with a slope steepness of about 4:1. In most years the hydrologic response of the area is dominated by the snowpack and snowmelt. During the 1978 water year internal soil water status was measured with a neutron soil water probe; ET losses were calculated from weather and precipitation was measured with two storage gages and a tipping bucket gage. During the snowmelt period, the amount of water percolating into the embankment and the surface water runoff from the embankment was calculated as the difference between the snowmelt rate and the rate of the saturated soil hydraulic conductivity.

Subject Headings: Water balance | Soil water | Mine wastes | Snowmelt | Water storage | Saturated soils | Hydrology | Water management | Idaho | United States

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