A Study of the Impact of the Dumping of Spoil on Beach Processes

by Lynne P. Humphries, Sunderland Polytechnic, Sunderland, United Kingdom,
William B. Scott, Sunderland Polytechnic, Sunderland, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The amenity value of beaches along the North East coast of England is reduced because of the continuing practice of dumping colliery spoil directly onto the beaches for dispersal by the sea. The effect on the immediate environment of the annual addition of millions of tons of shale and coal is to artificially raise the level of the beaches. A research project has been set up to monitor the impact of spoil dumping on beach processes. Initial observations suggest that the wind direction has a direct influence on the movement of this spoil on or off-shore. Westerly, offshore winds have the effect of transporting sand-sized particles onshore while the stronger, north-easterly winds rapidly erode and disperse the freshly dumped, unconsolidated, coarser fragments. Colliery spoil has accumulated in some bays for up to 70 years. It has now changed its physical and chemical character and shows features of acid mine drainage. The above factors have implications for the eventual clean-up of the beaches affected by spoil dumping.

Subject Headings: Beaches | Coastal processes | Wind engineering | Water pollution | Sediment transport | Coal mining | Littoral drift | Seas and oceans | England | United Kingdom | Europe

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