Use of Lysimeters for Determining Characteristics of Pore Water

by Jose A. Cercone, Morrison-Knudsen Environmental, Services, San Francisco, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Lysimeters for Evapotranspiration and Environmental Measurements


Lysimeters have been installed and used during the cleanup and stabilization of several former uranium processing sites in the western United States. In particular lysimeters have been used to sample pore water in saturated slimes and unsaturated tailings. Information obtained from these samples was used to characterize the pore water in terms of chemical and radiological characteristics. This information proved essential in field seepage studies of contaminated water. At one particular site, Mexican Hat, Utah, lysimeters were used to sample tailings pore water and correlate with existing water seeps in adjacent creeks. The results were used to evaluate the potential for radionuclide and chemical migration through underlying bedrock from the stabilized uranium mill tailings pile. The information gained from this project demonstrates the applicability, usefulness and limitations of lysimeters as a tool for environmental remediation projects.

Subject Headings: Water sampling | Water pollution | Measuring instruments | Pore water | Water quality | Field tests | Radioactive wastes | Construction materials | Utah | United States

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