Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 1 - 50 of 575 results
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Abstract

When considering how to reduce contamination of petroleum hydrocarbons in shallow aquifers, it is important to recognize the considerable capacity of natural processes continuously at work within the secondary sources of contamination. This natural processes are technically referred to as Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA), a process whereby petroleum hydrocarbons are deteriorated naturally by microbes. This approach of petroleum hydrocarbon degradation relies on microbes which utilise oxygen under aerobic processes and progressively utilises other constituents (sulphates, nitrates, iron and manganese) under anaerobic processes. MNA process is mostly evident when light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) has been removed while the dissolved phase hydrocarbon compounds are prominent in the saturated zone. The case studies aim at determining feasibility and sustainability of Monitored Natural Attenuation process at different sites with varying geological setting.

Abstract

Hydrogeological environments are commonly determined by the type of underlying geology; these environments may have a tremendous effect on the mobility and recovery of LNAPLs.  Hydrogeological environment include intergranular sediments and bedrocks of contrasting permeability and porosity. This paper synthesizes several case studies and conceptual models of different hydrological environments and illustrates how they affect the flow characteristics and rebound of LNAPLs.

Abstract

Decades of monitoring, characterising, and assessing nitrate concentration distribution and behaviour in the soil profile and it's pathway into groundwater have resulted in a good understanding of its distribution in the country. While the national distribution is of great importance, site specific conditions determine fate, transport, and ultimately concentration in a specific area. Field experimental work included installation of a barrier containing a cheaply available carbon source to treat groundwater. The "reactor"/ tank with dimensions- 1,37m height, 2.15m diameter used for the experiment was slotted for its entire circumference by marking and grinding through the 5mm thick plastic material. The top section was left open to allow for filling and occasional checking of filled material during the experiment. The tank was packed with Eucalyptus globulus woodchips which was freely available at the site. Concentrations of groundwater nitrate at the site were well over what could be expected in any naturally occurring groundwater systems, and would result only by major anthropogenic activities in unconfined aquifer areas of South Africa. The changes in parameter concentrations with time were measured in order to determine the efficiency and life span of the carbon source used for the experiment. This paper considers 35 months of monitoring at a site where a low technology method was implemented. Field implementation was tested at a site which previously experienced some NH4NO3 spills. Main results from the field work showed that nitrate was totally removed at the treatment zone and surrounding boreholes, and even sulphate and NH4+ were removed during the experiment. This shows that the woodchips were successful in affecting denitrification for 35 months. Data also shows that boreholes further downstream from the tank had reduced NO3-, SO42- and NH4+ levels. Using the available biodegradable carbon for the woodchips based on its composition, a barrier lifespan could be determined. The results of calculations showed that the barrier would be effective for at least another 6.9 years from the period of the last sampling date. A total lifespan of about 10 years can thus be estimated.

Abstract

The costs of acid mine drainage (AMD) monitoring result in the quest for alternative non-invasive method that can provide qualitative data on the progression of the pollution plume and ground geophysics was the ideal solution. However, the monitoring of AMD plume progression by ground geophysics (time-lapse electrical resistance) proves to be non-invasive but also time consuming. This gave way to a study that focuses on the modeling of different scenarios of the karstic aquifer. The models use the field parameters such as the electrical resistivity of the host rock and the target rock, depth to the target, noise level and electrode configuration in order to ensure that the model outcomes represent the field data as much as possible. This geoelectric modeling process uses Complex Resistivity Model (CRMod) and Complex Resistivity Tomography (CRTomo) to generate geoelectric subsurface images. Different resistivity values are applied to targets in order to assess the difference against the baseline model for each target scenario. The model resistivity difference is reduced to the smallest difference possible between the reference and new models in order to gauge the lowest percentage change in the model at which the background noises start to have impact on the results. The study shows that the behavior of targets (aquifer) could be clearly detected through resistivity difference tomography rather than inversion tomography. The electrode array plays a significant part in the detection of target areas and their differences in resistance because of its sensitivity. This therefore indicates that the electrode array should be chosen according to study requirements. Furthermore, the model geometry also plays a role and this can be seen with the modelling of different target sizes, alignments and shapes. Future studies that can provide a correlation between the field quantitative data from sampling and the model outcomes have the ability to add to the knowledge field of geophysical modelling therefore reducing costs associated with field based plume AMD monitoring300-500 words without references; reach your conclusions rather than only delivering promises.

Abstract

This paper describes the results of study aimed at consolidating the available data sources on deep aquifers and deep groundwater conditions in South Africa. The study formed part of the larger WRC Project K5/2434 (Characterisation and Protection of Potential Deep Aquifers in South Africa). Since very little is known about the aquifer conditions below depths of 300 m, all groundwater information from depths greater than 300 m was considered to represent the deep aquifer systems. Various confirmed and potential sources of data on deep aquifers and groundwater conditions were identified and interrogated during this study, namely:

1. Boreholes of the International Heat Flow Commission (IHFC). The IHFC database indicates the location of 39 deep boreholes ranging in depth from 300 to 800 m, with an average depth of 535 m.
2. The Pangea database of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The Pangea database has information on 119 boreholes in South Africa, of which 116 are deeper than 300 m.
3. A database on deep boreholes at the Council for Geoscience (CGS). This database contains information on 5 221 boreholes with depths exceeding 300 m.
4. Information on the deep SOEKOR boreholes drilled during the 1960s and 1970s (at least 38 boreholes).
5. Information on deep boreholes from the database of the Petroleum Agency SA.
6. The National Groundwater Archive (NGA) of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
7. Information derived from the thermal springs in South Africa.
8. Boreholes drilled as part of the Karoo Research Initiative (KARIN).
9. Information on the locations and depths of underground mines in South Africa. Information on the occurrence of deep groundwater could potentially be obtained from these mines.

The study shows that, although information on a vast number of deep groundwater sites is listed in the various databases, the data relevant to the geohydrological conditions are scant at most sites. This paucity of geohydrological data implies that the deep aquifers of South Africa are currently poorly understood.

Abstract

Environmental isotope techniques have been successfully applied in the field of hydrogeology over the last couple of decades and have proved useful for understanding groundwater systems. This paper describes a study of the environmental isotopes for Oxygen (18O) and Hydrogen (1H, 2H-Deutrium, 3H-Tritium) obtained from various points in and around the underground coal gasification (UCG) site in Majuba, South Africa. UCG is an alternative mining method, targeting deep coal seams that are regarded as uneconomical to mine. The process extracts the energy by gasifying the coal in-situ to produce a synthetic gas that can be used for various applications. The site consists of shallow, intermediate and deep aquifer systems at a depth of 70m, 180 and 300m respectively. The intermediate aquifer is further divided into the upper and lower aquifer systems.
Samples were taken from each aquifer system together with supplementary samples from the Witbankspruit and an on-site water storage dam. A total of 15 samples were submitted for isotope analyses. By investigating the various isotopic signatures from all the samples taken, it will be possible to determine if there are similar or contrasting isotopic compositions by deducing possible water source for each sample due to isotopic fractionation caused by physical, chemical and biological processes. This will also be supported by deducing the mean residence time (MRT) for each water source sampled based on the Tritium data as well as the chemistry data already available for different sources. The chemistry data established linkages between the upper and lower intermediate aquifers.{List only- not presented}
Key words: Environmental isotopes, UCG, Water source, Isotope fractionation

Abstract

Mining site remnants are everlasting and impact the groundwater regime on a long term scale. An integrated approach to geoscience is necessary due to the complexity of nature and the unknown relationships that must be discovered to further the understanding of impacts on the natural environment. Furthermore, groundwater resources are negatively impacted by mining activities affecting the groundwater quality and quantity. Underground coal mining can be accompanied by roof failure events. This may change the matrix which subsequently alters the flow regime; leads to variations within the water chemistry, provided there is inter- aquifer connectivity; and alters the recharge rate. Dewatered mine voids are in direct contact with oxygen initiating oxidation reactions, depending on the geology of the specific site. A change in water chemistry was analyzed, and this coincides with a roof failure event as interpreted from water level measurements. Concentrations of Mg, Ca, and alkalinity indicate anomalous changes that are still in effect, five to six years after the majority of water levels had stabilized. The changes in the system coincides with and correlates to events of roof failure and different parameters. The latter changes are applied as extra tools when interpreting different site specific anthropogenic induced impacts on the system. Also within this study, constant rate pumping tests were conducted for the interest of the hydraulic properties, using three farming boreholes. The results put forward a range of 0.21 – 0.44L/s and 6.5 – 11.5m2 /d, for sustainable yield and transmissivity, respectively. Furthermore, it is recommended that a better understanding can be gained on system behaviors if chemistry correlations can be gathered through certain events causing specific systems to be in disequilibrium. It is also recommended that additional pumping tests will allow more insightful interpretation and delineation between the abovementioned chemical and water level changes. Finally, the combination of parameters during events can aid in deciding the most appropriate analytical models used for further analysis.

Abstract

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used in a variety of problems in the fields of science and engineering in particular automation of many processes due to their self-learning capabilities as well as their noise-immunity. In this paper, we describe a study of the applicability of one of the popular branch of AI (Artificial Neural Network (ANN)) as an alternative approach to automate modelling of one-dimensional geoelectrical resistivity sounding data. The methodology involves two ANNs; first one for curve type identification and the other one for model parameter estimation. A three-layer feedforward neural network that was trained from geoelectrical resistivity data taken at boreholes with geology logs was used to predict earth models from measured data without the need to guess the initial model parameters or use synthetic data as is done with most conventional inversion approaches. The motivation for using the ANN for geophysical inversion is that they are adaptive systems that perform a non-linear mapping between two sets of data from a given domain. For network training, we use the back-propagation algorithm. An example using data from southern Malawi shows that the ANN results outperforms the conventional approaches as the results after adequate training, produce reasonably accurate earth models which are in agreement with borehole log data.

Abstract

This paper was presented at the GWD Central Branch Symposium, Potchefstroom in 2012

Numerical modelling of hydrogeological systems has progressed significantly with the evolution of technology and the development of a greater understanding of hydrogeology and the underlying mathematical principles. Hydrogeological modelling software can now include complex geological layers and models as well as allow the pinching out of geological features and layers. The effects of a complex geology on the hydraulic parameters determined by numerical modelling is investigated by means of the DHI-WASY FEFLOW and Aranz Geo Leapfrog modelling software packages.

The Campus Test Site (CTS) at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa was selected as the locale to be modelled. Being one of the most studied aquifers in the world, the CTS has had multiple research projects performed on it and as a result ample information is available to construct a hydrogeological model with a high complexity. The CTS consists primarily of stacked fluvial channel deposits of the Lower Beaufort Group, with the main waterstrike located on a bedding-plane fracture in the main sandstone aquifer.

The investigation was performed by creating three distinct hydrogeological models of the CTS, the first consists entirely of simplified geological strata modelled in FEFLOW by means of average layer thicknessand does not include the pinching out of any geological layers. The second model was created to be acopy of the first, however the bedding-plane fracture can pinch out where it is known to not occur. The third and final model consisted of a complex geological model created in Leapfrog Geo which was subsequently exported to FEFLOW for hydrogeological modelling.

Abstract

This study intent to share the legal and institutional analysis of the UNESCO IHP project "Groundwater Resources Governance in Transboundary Aquifers" (GGRETA) project for the Stampriet Transboundary aquifer. The Intergovernmental Council (IGC) of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) at its 20th Session requested the UNESCO-IHP to continue the Study and Assessment of Transboundary Aquifers and Groundwater Resources and encouraged UNESCO Member States to cooperate on the study of their transboundary aquifers, with the support of the IHP. The GGRETA project includes three case studies: the Trifinio aquifer in Central America, the Pretashkent aquifer in central Asia and the Stampriet aquifer in southern Africa. This study focuses on the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System that straddles the border between Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The Stampriet system is an important strategic resource for the three countries. In Namibia the aquifer is the main source of water supply for agricultural development and urban centers in the region, in Botswana the aquifer supplies settlements and livestock while in South Africa the aquifer supplies livestock ranches and a game reserve. The project methodology is based on UNESCO's Shared Aquifer Resources Management (ISARM) guidelines and their multidisciplinary approach to transboundary aquifers governance and management, addressing hydrogeological, socio-economic, legal, institutional and environmental aspects. The GGRETA builds recognition of the shared nature of the resource, and mutual trust through joint fact finding and science based analysis and diagnostics. This began with collection and processing of legal and institutional data at the national level using a standardized set of variables developed by the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center (IGRAC). This was followed by harmonization of the national data using common classifications, reference systems, language, formats and derive indicators from the variables. The harmonized data provided the basis for an integrated assessment of the Stampriet transboundary aquifer. The data assisted the case study countries to set priorities for further collaborative work on the aquifer and to reach consensus on the scope and content of multicountry consultation mechanism aimed at improving the sustainable management of the aquifer. The project also includes training for national representatives in international law applied to transboundary aquifers and methodology for improving inter-country cooperation. This methodology has been developed in the framework of UNESCO's Potential Conflict Cooperation Potential (PCCP) program. The on-going study also includes consultation with stakeholders to provide feedback on proposals for multicountry cooperation mechanisms. It is anticipated that upon completion of the study, a joint governance model shall have been drawn amongst the three countries sharing the aquifer to ensure a mutual resource management.

Abstract

Two ventilation shafts were proposed to be excavated to depths of 100 and 350 m to intersect an underground mine, in the Bushveld Complex. The area is made up of fractured aquifers and the assignment was to identify the exact positions of the permeable zones within the shafts profiles as well as estimate the groundwater inflow rates at every 5 m interval along the shafts profiles. The project was budget and time constrained and therefore the preferred hydrogeological characterisation techniques, particularly the percussion drilling, aquifer testing and numerical modelling could not be conducted. The study was completed by conducting packer tests in HQ sized holes drilled at the exact positions of the proposed shafts. The packer test data was then interpreted using Thiem equation, a modification of Darcy Equation for radial flow, to estimate the steady state inflow rates into the shafts. Transient state flow is more challenging to calculate analytically, as it is time and aquifer storage dependent. However, transient state flow in shafts exists for the first 10 - 15 days only and is short lived. Thereafter, a steady state flow occurs where the rate is nearly fixed for the rest of the life of mine, unless new external stresses, such as mine dewatering, takes place within the radius of influence. Six months later the shafts were excavated and the permeable zones were encountered at the exact positions as predicted using the packer testing. In addition, the inflow rates calculated using analytical modelling was successful in estimating the inflow rates recorded after the shafts were excavated. The packer testing and analytical modelling was therefore effective in assisting the mine to plan the necessary pumps and management plans within the allocated budget and timeframe.

Abstract

Three dimensional numerical flow modelling has become one of the best tools to optimise and management wellfields across the world. This paper presents a case study of simulating an existing wellfield in an alluvial aquifer directly recharged by a major perennial river with fluctuating head stages. The wellfield was originally commissioned in 2010 to provide a supply of water to a nearby Mine. Ten large diameter boreholes capable of abstracting ±2 000 m3 /hour were initially installed in the wellfield. The numerical groundwater flow model was used to evaluate if an additional 500 m3 /hour could be sustainably abstract from the alluvial aquifer system. A probabilistic river flow assessment and surface water balance model was used to quantify low and average flow volumes for the river and used to determine water availability in the alluvial aquifer over time. Output generated indicated that the wellfield demand only exceeded the lowest 2% (98th percentile) of measured monthly river flow over a 59 year period, thereby proving sufficient water availability. Conceptual characterisation of the alluvial aquifer was based on previous feasibility studies and monitoring data from the existing hydrogeological system. Aquifer parameters was translated into the model discretisation grid based on the conceptual site model while the MODFLOW River package was used to represent the river. Actual river stage data was used in the calibration process in addition to water levels of monitoring boreholes and pump tests results. The input of fluctuating river water levels proved essential in obtaining a low model error (RMSE of 0.3). Scenario modelling was used to assess the assurance of supply of the alluvial aquifer for average and drought conditions with a high confidence and provided input into further engineering designs. Wellfield performance and cumulative drawdown were also assessed for the scenario with the projected additional yield demand. Scenario modelling was furthermore used to optimise the placement of new boreholes in the available wellfield concession area.

Abstract

The intangible nature of groundwater provides challenges when trying to understand and quantify the role of groundwater in the hydrology of lakes and wetlands. This task is made even more difficult by the frequent absence of data. However, by adopting a scientific approach, it is possible to assess the hydrogeological contribution

Abstract

Groundwater levels in E33F quaternary catchment are at their lowest level ever. The impact of climatic variation and increasing abstraction were determined to be the main factor. There are 115 registered groundwater users in E33F and the monthly abstraction volumes are not being measured. There is a need to use land use activities as well as the population to estimate groundwater use. The main objective is to use non-groundwater monitoring data to estimate groundwater use in order to protect the aquifer and ecosystem in general in varying climatic condition. Land use activities information was used to estimate groundwater use in E33F quaternary catchment. The estimated groundwater use volumes were compared to allocated and measured volumes. For domestic groundwater use estimation, population data and an estimation 100 litre per person per day were used. The water requirements for the types of crops being cultivated together with the area (m2) were used to estimate groundwater use volumes for irrigation. The number and type of live stocks were used with the water requirements for each livestock type to estimate the groundwater use volumes. 96 % of groundwater users are using groundwater for irrigation purposes with 9 966 105 m3/a allocated for irrigation. Mining, industries, domestic and livestock are allocated 100 200 m3/a. The estimated groundwater use volume for irrigation is 30 960 000 m3/a, which is three times higher than the allocated volume. Groundwater use volume for domestic use is estimated to be 38 225 m3/a which is higher than the 31 000 m3/a allocated. The total estimated groundwater use volume in E33F is estimated to be 30 998 225 m3/a, which is three times higher than the allocated groundwater use volume of 10 066 305 m3/a. This estimation could be higher as only registered boreholes were used and estimations from mining, Industries and live stocks were excluded due to lack of data

Abstract

Quantification of groundwater is important as it should determine the maximum sustainable use of the resource. The SAMREC Code that is required for mineral resource quantification sets out minimum standards, guidelines and recommendations for public reporting of exploration results for mineral resources and reserves. The code serves as the basis for mineral asset valuation and provides quality assurance to the process and an understanding of the results. In groundwater far too often, various methods are used for resource quantification that leads to various results even should the same resource be investigated by two different hydrogeologists. In far too many cases, the resource is not quantified properly which leads to vast over or under estimations. The result is a lack of trust in groundwater resources. As has been done in the international arena, it is similarly proposed that a code be developed for South Africa to ensure that the sustainability of groundwater resources is determined and the impacts of utilization on the water Reserve and the environment be quantified at a minimum level and that basic hydrogeological principles are followed. A South African Groundwater Regulation Code for sustainable resource quantification and impact assessment (SAGREC) is developed that is proposed to guide groundwater investigations and development processes from planning to baseline assessments, drilling and aquifer testing to resource quantification and sustainability modeling. The aim is to ensure trust being built on groundwater as a resource due to projects that follow a formal process that quantifies the assurance of supply and determines the environmental impacts.

Abstract

Preventing the spread of seepage from tailings storage facilities (TSF's) in groundwater is necessary as it often contains toxic contaminants. Experience has shown that seepage from TSFs is inevitable and that zero seepage remains difficult even with complex liner systems. Multiple seepage control methods are often required to minimise seepage to ensure that environmental regulations are met. Control methods can be grouped into either barrier or collection systems. Barrier systems are used to hinder seepage whereas collection systems are used to intercept seepage. A blast curtain, which is the focus of this article, is a type of collection system that is still at a conceptual level but has seen little or no application worldwide. It works in principle, similarly to a curtain drain, but is typically extended to greater depths depending on the aquifer vulnerability. Numerical modeling has shown that this mitigation measure could add another line of defence for seepage control. The depth and effectiveness of the curtain can be optimized with a numerical model to ensure optimal interception of contaminated seepage around the TSF. Depths of up to 30 m in fractured aquifers have been simulated in this study. A blast curtain is constructed by drilling a set of boreholes around a TSF in close proximity to one another and then fracturing the rock using either explosives or fracking methods to create a more permeable zone. This is then combined with a series of scavenger wells or natural seepage to abstract the contaminated water. Numerical simulation has shown that blast curtains are effective especially if groundwater flow is horizontal. The effectiveness decreases if the vertical flow component is significant. A blast curtain can result in the lowering of the water table, however, local depression is a less of a concern than potential groundwater contamination. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Groundwater is a vital source of water for many communities in South Africa and elsewhere. Besides the changing climate, rapidly spreading invasive alien plants with deep roots e.g. Prosopis spp, pose a serious threat to this water source. Dense impenetrable thickets of Prosopis occur in the drier parts of the country mainly along river channels in the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. Few studies have quantified the actual water use by this species outside of the USA where it is native. Consequently the impacts of Prosopis invasions on groundwater resources are not well documented in South Africa. The aim of this study was to quantify the actual volumes of water used by Prosopis invasions and to establish the effects on groundwater. Because deep rooted indigenous trees that normally replace Prosopis once it has been cleared also use groundwater, we sought to quantify the incremental water use by Prosopis over and above that used by indigenous trees in order to determine the true impacts on groundwater. The study was conducted at a site densely invaded by Prosopis at Brandkop farm near the groundwater dependent town of Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape. One in seven trees at the site is the Vachellia karroo (formerly A. karroo) which is the dominant deep rooted indigenous tree species. Actual transpiration rates by five Prosopis and five V. karroo are being measured using the heat pulse velocity (HPV) sap flow technique. Additional HPV sensors were installed on the tap and lateral roots to study the water uptake dynamics of the trees. Groundwater levels are being monitored in four boreholes drilled across the site while sources of water used by the trees (i.e. whether soil or groundwater) is being determined using O/H stable isotopes. For similar size trees, V. karroo had higher transpiration rates than Prosopis because of the larger sapwood to heartwood ratio in V. karroo than in Prosopis. However, at the stand level Prosopis consumed significantly larger amounts of water than V. karroo. This is because Prosopis invasions had a much higher tree density than V. karroo. From August 2013 to July 2014, annual stand transpiration for Prosopis (~ 372 mm) was more than 4 times higher than that of V. karroo (~ 84 mm). Tree water uptake was correlated to changes in groundwater levels (R2 ~ 0.42) with groundwater abstractions of ~ 2600 m3/ha/y by Prosopis compared to ~ 610 m3/ha/y for V. karroo. In addition, Prosopis showed evidence of hydraulic redistribution of groundwater wherein groundwater was deposited in the shallow soil layers while V. karroo did not. Results of this study suggest that clearing of Prosopis to salvage groundwater should target dense stands while less dense stands should be prevented from getting dense. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

This paper describes the characteristics of the deep aquifer systems in South Africa as derived from the available data. The study formed part of the larger WRC project K5/2434 (Characterisation and Protection of Potential Deep Aquifers in South Africa). A review of the available literature relevant to potential deep aquifers in South Africa was done to allow characterisation of these aquifer systems. In addition, data obtained from the geological logs of the SOEKOR and KARIN boreholes were considered.

This paper focuses on deep aquifers in 1) the Karoo Supergroup, 2) the basement and crystalline bedrock aquifers, 3) the Table Mountain Group, 4) the Bushveld Igneous Complex and 5) the dolomites of the Transvaal Supergroup. From the available data the deep aquifer systems are described in terms of the following characteristics: lithology, occurrence, physical dimensions, aquifer type, saturation level, heterogeneity and degree of isotropy, formation properties, hydraulic parameters, pressurisation, yield, groundwater quality, and aquifer vulnerability.

The results of the study show that the deep aquifer systems of South Africa are generally fractured hard-rock aquifers in which secondary porosity was developed through processes such as fracturing and dissolution. The primary porosity of most of the rocks forming the aquifers is very low. Apart from the dolomite aquifers, most of the water storage occurs in the rock matrices. Groundwater flow predominantly takes place along the fractures and dissolution cavities which act as preferential pathways for groundwater migration. The aquifers are generally highly heterogeneous and anisotropic.

The deep aquifers are generally confined and associated with positive hydraulic pressures. The groundwater quality generally decreases with depth as the salinity increases. However, deep dolomite aquifers may contain groundwater of good quality. Due to the large depths of occurrence, the deep aquifer systems are generally not vulnerable to contamination from activities at surface or in the shallow subsurface. The deep dolomite aquifers are a notable exception since they may be hydraulically linked to the shallower systems through complex networks of dissolution cavities. The deep aquifers are, however, very vulnerable to over-exploitation since low recharge rates are expected.

Abstract

Slightly more out of the box idea is the use of anthropogenic aquifers as storage and chemical conditioners.  This concept was first introduce by Eland Platinum Mine(EPM) and reported on in previous papers.  At EPM water is used through a serious of natural aeration and aerobic storage facilities to reduce nitrate levels.  In 2013 another group introduced pilot studies by virtue of abstraction in support of the water conservation and demand management strategy; which has proven that it could enable the operations to overcome water shortage periods and reduce pressure on Rand Water (RW). The pilot sites would deliver water into the dirty water circuit, but within five to ten years it may further be used to overcome months with zero potable water supply. .  In platinum mines the more the aquifers are used the cleaner the water becomes, simply because introduced pollutants are not constant sources and country rock is mostly inert.  In the future these aquifers have the potential to become larger storage facilities protected from floods and limited evaporation losses. It is foreseen that some of the mines in the western belt may have more water stored in primary aquifers than water stored within major water dams. Yields from these aquifers for individual aquifers may be up to 450 m3/hour and storage of 18 Mm3.  . Why then this paper if we are already using it?  The issue is that the true value of these aquifers an only be unlocked when they are  used as recharging aquifers and thereby actively storing dirty water within a dirty water aquifer.  Once we are able to undertake this the positive environmental gains such of environmental overflows, condition dirty water, reduction of pollution and significant reduction of the use of potable water from RW. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

This article present field evidence on the effect of artefacts other than the horizontal groundwater flux on the single-borehole tracer dilution test. The artefacts on the tracer dilution were observed during two single-borehole tracer dilution tests conducted in an alluvial channel aquifer in the main Karoo Basin of Southern Africa. Field evidence shows that early time of the tracer dilution plot can be affected by artefacts other than the horizontal groundwater flux. These artefacts have great potential to increase the early time gradient of tracer dilution curve leading to overestimation of the horizontal groundwater flux. A qualitative approach that can be used to isolate and remove portion of the dilution plot that has resulted from artefacts other than the groundwater flow prior to calculating the horizontal groundwater flux is proposed.

Abstract

Burning of coal for electricity production has resulted in vast amounts of ash being deposited in ash dumps. Rain water and ash water conditioning results in the wetting of ash dumps and if the water retention capacity is exceeded there is a possibility of leaching to soil and underlying aquifers. In this study two different coal ash are used to determine the water retention as excess amount of process water at power stations ash dumps can lead to impeding the desired water balance, which can be critical for maintain various plant processes. The nonlinear relationship between soil water content and matrix suction of a porous material under unsaturated conditions is described by the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC). The SWCC for a given material represents the water storage capability enabling the determination of varying matric suction such as prediction of important unsaturated hydraulic processes including soil permeability, shear strength, volume change with respect to the water content changes. This paper presents an alternative, cost effective and rapid method for measuring and subsequent estimating of the soil-water characteristics of any soil type. Several methods are available to obtain the measurements required for defining soil-water characteristics. However, obtaining the required measurements for a SWCC is generally difficult since there is no laboratory or field instrument, capable of measuring a typical complete plant available water suction range accurately. Due to high methodological effort and associated costs of other methods, a simplified evaporation method which was implemented in the HYPROP (Hydraulic Property analyzer, UMS, 2012) becomes a possible alternative. It relies on the evaporation method initially proposed Schindler (1980). A typical work range for a HYPROP system is 0 to 100 KPa as read out from the two high capacity tensiometers installed at different heights within a saturated sample column. For a dry coal ash dump to be optimally used as sinks, input water applications should be matched with evaporation rates and capillary storage. This will ensure the moisture storage of the ash dump is not exceeded and consequently avert leachate generation at the base of the ash dump. The field capacity of waste materials is of critical importance in determining the formation of leachate in landfills which in this case is the coal ash dump facility. It is the field capacity limit when exceeded which give rise to leachate generation consequently promoting a downward movement of generated leachate.he study found that it is possible to use the Hyprop together with an empirical based fitting model to define a complete SWCC along a dewatering path. The study found the Brooks-Corey model as the suitable representative of the Hyprop measured data, confirmed by AICc and RMSE analysis. The Brooks-Corey estimated retention function parameters within +/- 1% error. A mean value of 35.3% was determined as the water retention or field capacity value for Matimba Coal ash. If the ash dump is operated in excess of this value, chances of groundwater pollution are high.

Abstract

A coal mine in South Africa had reached decant levels after mine flooding, where suspected mine water was discharging on the ground surface. Initial investigations had indicted a low-risk of decant, but when ash-backfilling was performed in the defunct underground mine, decant occurred. Ash-backfilling was immediately suspended as it was thought to have over-pressurised the system and caused decant. Contrariwise, a number of years later decant was still occurring even though ash-backfilling had been terminated. An investigation was launched to determine whether it was the ash-backfilling which had solely caused decant, or if additional contributing factors existed. Understanding the mine water decant is further complicated by the presence of underlying dolomites which when intersected during mining produced significant inflows into the underground mine workings. Furthermore, substantial subsidence has taken place over the underground mine area. These factors combined with the inherent difficulty of understanding unseen groundwater, produced a proverbial 1000-piece puzzle. Numerical groundwater modelling was a natural choice for evaluating the complex system of inter-related processes. A pre-mining model simulated the water table at the ground surface near the currently decanting area, suggesting this area was naturally susceptible for seepage conditions. The formation of a pathway from the mine to the ground surface combined with the natural susceptibility of the system may have resulted in the mine water decant. This hypothesis advocates that mine water was going to decant in this area, regardless of ash backfilling. The numerical groundwater flow model builds a case for this hypothesis from 1) the simulated upward flow in the pre-mining model and 2) the groundwater level is simulated above the surface near the currently decanting area. A mining model was then utilised to run four scenarios, investigating the flux from the dolomites, subsidence, ash-backfilling and a fault within the opencast mine. The ash-backfilling scenario model results led to the formation of the hypothesis that completing the ash-backfilling could potentially reduce the current decant volumes, which is seemingly counterintuitive. The numerical model suggested that the current ash-backfill areas reduce the groundwater velocity and could potentially reduce the decant volumes; in spite of its initial contribution to the mine water decant which is attributed to incorrect water abstraction methods. In conclusion, the application of numerical models to improve the understanding of complex systems is essential, because the result of interactions within a complex system are not intuitive and in many cases require mathematical simulation to be fully understood.

Abstract

Gold Mining activities the past 60 years at AngloGold Ashanti polluted the groundwater underlain by 4000 ha of land at the Vaal River and West Wits operations in South Africa. Sulphide material in Tailings Storage Facilities, Waste Rock Dumps and extraction plants produce Saline Mine Drainage with Sulphate, minor salts and metals that seep to the groundwater and ultimately into surface water resources. Water regulation requires mines to prevent, minimise/ reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources. The waste philosophy has matured from tolerate and transfer to treat and termination of pollution sources. The impact of the pollution was determined and possible technologies to treat the impact were evaluated. Source controls of proper water management by storm water management, clean dirty water separation, lined water conveyance structures and reduced deposition of water on waste facilities is crucial. The aquifer character determines the possible remediation technology. From the possible technologies phytoremediation, physical interception and re-use of this water was selected. In future possible treatment of the water would be considered. This paper explain the strategy and report on the phased implementation of these plans and the expected results. The establishment of 750 ha of woodlands as phytoremediation, interception trenches of 1250 m, 38 interception boreholes and infrastructure to re-use this water in 10 water management areas is planned. The total volume of 15 Ml/day would be abstracted for re-use from the boreholes and trenches. The woodlands can potentially attenuate and treat 5 ml/day. The established woodlands of 150 ha proof successful to intercept diffused seep over the area of establishment and reduce the water level and base flow. The 2 implemented trenches of 1000 m indicate a local decline in the water level with interception of shallow groundwater within 1-2 m from surface. The 2 production interception well fields abstracting 50 and 30 l/s respectively indicate a water level decline of between 2 to 14 m with regional cones of depression of a few hundred meters to intercept groundwater flow up to 20 meter. Predictions from groundwater modelling indicate that these schemes can minimise pollution during the operational phase and protect downstream water resources. Predictions from modelling indicate that the pollution sources need to be removed to ensure long term clean-up to return the land to save use. The gold and uranium prize is securing the removal of the sources through re-processing of the tailings and waste rock dumps. After removal of the sources of pollution the remediation schemes would have to be operated for 20 years to return the groundwater to an acceptable standard of stock watering and industrial water use. The water quality is observed by a monitoring network of approximately 100 observation boreholes.

Abstract

Implementation of a mining project in South Africa involved dewatering of a fractured rock aquifer at considerable depth below ground level. Groundwater quality within this aquifer is not suitable for domestic use due to high levels of salinity. Numerous geological investigations in the area indicate that the target aquifer is confined, with a different piezometric head to the shallower aquifers. However, regulators and other interested and affected parties expressed concern regarding the potential mixing of more saline groundwater from the deeper aquifer to be dewatered with groundwater from shallower aquifers, which are extensively used for farming and domestic purposes.
A large database of groundwater quality monitoring data collected over 16 years was available to investigate the degree of mixing between the deeper more saline and shallower freshwater aquifers. The groundwater chemistry of selected boreholes with known geological profile, depth and construction was used to develop groundwater fingerprinting criteria for each of the aquifers in the area. These fingerprinting criteria were then applied to private and exploration boreholes in the area in order to identify the main aquifer from which groundwater was being sourced. Once the boreholes were classified in terms of groundwater origin, an attempt was made to identify indicators of mixing with deeper, more saline groundwater from the aquifer being dewatered.
Groundwater fingerprinting allowed identification of impacts related to the mining operations. The data showed that there was no upward mixing of water related to dewatering operations, but rather that surface spillages and disposal schemes may have resulted in minor changes in shallow groundwater quality. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

POSTER Aquifer stress arising from urbanization and agricultural activities, these two factors affect aquifer properties when prolonged. Increase in urbanization especially those situated on top unconfined or semi-confined aquifer results in pressure on natural resources, this includes water resources, and changes of land use for agricultural purposes with high economic benefits has an effect on groundwater quality to due to application of Nitrogen- fertilizers during crop rotation and this is largely experienced in developing countries. The effects ranges from groundwater quality to aquifer storage as prolonged aquifer withdrawals due to irrigation, construction, manufacturing affects groundwater storage. Assessment of urbanization and agricultural effects on groundwater requires a complex analysis as integration approaches needs to be discovered for a better analysis of the two more specially when assessing groundwater pollution. The study was conducted to assess the impacts of urbanization and agricultural activities on aquifer storage and groundwater quality: by (a) determining the relationship between the occurrence of contamination due to urbanization by assessing contaminants present in the study area (b) develop groundwater protection, and if any offer recommendation for groundwater management. Multiple-well tests were conducted observing the behavior of drawdown and recovery for assessing groundwater storage. Two aquifer properties were observed to yield information about any changes in aquifer storage (transmissivity and storage coefficient) and groundwater quality lab test focusing on TDS, nitrate and pH were conducted. Historical results reflect that before industrial and urban revolution the groundwater contained small amounts of TDS compared with the present results. Increase in nitrate and pH concentrations observed in location closer to agricultural areas. Prolonged aquifer withdrawals increases expansion of cone of depression and therefore increases aquifer vulnerability and the risk of aquifer being polluted, and this increases storage coefficient. This study can be used to formulate protection zones for water resources and practice towards groundwater management.

Abstract

The complexity of real world systems inspire scientists to continually advance methods used to represent these systems as knowledge and technology advances. This fundamental principle has been applied to groundwater transport, a real world problem where the current understanding often cannot describe what is observed in nature. There are two main approaches to improve the simulation of groundwater transport in heterogeneous systems, namely 1) improve the physical characterisation of the heterogeneous system, or 2) improve the formulation of the governing equations used to simulate the system. The latter approach has been pursued by incorporating fractal and fractional derivatives into the governing equation formulation, as well as combining fractional and fractal derivatives. A fractal advection-dispersion equation, with numerical integration and approximation methods for solution, is explored to simulate anomalous transport in fractured aquifer systems. The fractal advection-dispersion equation has been proven to simulate superdiffusion and subdiffusion by varying the fractal dimension, without explicit characterisation of fractures or preferential pathways. A fractional-fractal advection-dispersion equation has also been developed to provide an efficient non-local modelling tool. The fractional-fractal model provides a flexible tool to model anomalous diffusion, where the fractional order controls the breakthrough curve peak, and the fractal dimension controls the position of the peak and tailing effect. These two controls potentially provide the tools to improve the representation of anomalous breakthrough curves that cannot be described by the classical-equation model. In conclusion, the use of fractional calculus and fractal geometry to achieve the collective mission of resolving the difference between modelled and observed is explored for the better understanding and management of fractured systems.

Abstract

This study was aimed at developing an integrated groundwater-surface water interaction (GSI) model for a selected stretch of the Modder River by considering the following five different aspects of the GSI: 1) the distribution of different aquifer systems (structural connectivity) along the river 2) the hydraulic connectivity between the aquifer systems, 3) the volumes of water abstracted from the aquifers by streamside vegetation, 4) the volumes of water replenished to the groundwater system through rainfall recharge, and 5) the exchange fluxes between the various components of the groundwater-surface water system. The distribution of the aquifer systems was investigated by means of a) geo-electrical surveys, and b) in situ slug tests while their hydraulic connectivity was investigated by hydrogeochemical routing. The volumes of water abstracted by streamside vegetation were estimated by the quantification of the transpiration from individual plants and the groundwater recharge was estimated by a root zone water balance. The water exchange fluxes between the groundwater and surface water were determined from a simple riparian zone groundwater budget. The results of the geo-electrical surveys and slug tests allowed the delineation of the riparian area aquifers (RAA) and the terrestrial area aquifers (TAA) on both the south-eastern and north-western sides of the river. Based on the results of hydrochemical analyses, saturation indices and inverse mass balance modelling, the GSI involves flow of water from the TAA to the RAA, and finally to the river on the south-eastern side while it involves flow from the river into the RAA with a limited exchange with the TAA on the south-eastern side. The dominant vegetation on the study area was found to be the Acacia karroo and Diospyros lycioides. The close similarities in isotope compositions of the xylem sap and the borehole water samples suggested that the Acacia karroo sourced its water from the groundwater storage while differences in isotope compositions suggested that the Diospyros lycioides did not source water from the groundwater storage at the time of measurement. The results of groundwater recharge estimation in the study area highlighted the fact that both the antecedent moisture and the rainfall amounts determine whether recharge to the groundwater system will take place. Finally, the results of baseflow estimation indicated that the river is a gaining stream along the south-eastern reach while acting as a losing stream along the north-western reach.

Abstract

The hydraulic parameters of heterogeneous aquifers are often estimated by conducting pumping (and recovery) tests during which the drawdown in a borehole intersecting the aquifer is measured over time, and by interpreting the data after making a number of assumptions about the aquifer conditions. The interpreted values of the hydraulic parameters are then considered to be average values that represent the properties of the bulk aquifer without taking into account local heterogeneities and anisotropies. An alternative and more economic approach is to measure streaming potentials in the vicinity of the borehole being tested. The streaming potential method is a non-invasive geophysical method that measures electrical signals generated by groundwater flow in the subsurface through a process known as electrokinetic coupling. This method allows data to be recorded at a high spatial density around the borehole. The interpretation of streaming potential data in terms of aquifer hydraulic parameters is facilitated by a coupled flow relationship which links the streaming potential gradient to the hydraulic gradient through a constant of proportionality called the electrokinetic coupling coefficient. In the current study, field measurements of streaming potentials were taken during the pumping and recovery phases of pumping tests conducted at two sites with dissimilar geological and geohydrological conditions. The recorded streaming potential data were interpreted by calculating the hydraulic head gradient from the streaming potential gradient, and by using the potential field analytical solution for the transient mode, which relates the streaming potential field directly to the average hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity values estimated from the streaming potential method were of the same order as values determined from the analysis of drawdown data, with a relative error of 0.2. This study demonstrates that the streaming potential method is a viable tool to compliment pumping tests and provide a spatial representation of the hydraulic parameters.

Abstract

This keynote paper addresses several issues central to the conference theme of “Change, Challenge and Opportunity”. For hydrogeologists to exert greater influence on groundwater management globally, proper education and training is essential. Universities play a key role in educating hydrogeologists in the fundamental principles of groundwater science through taught Masters and other degree programmes. Scientific associations such as the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) also have an important part to play in education and training through short courses, conferences and mentoring schemes, and in enhancing groundwater science through journal and book publications and scientific commissions. IAH’s mission is to promote the wise use and protection of groundwater and, in this respect, a series of Strategic Overview papers have been prepared to inform professionals in other sectors of the interactions between groundwater and these sectors. Two of the Strategic Overview papers focus on the SDGs and global change, and some of the groundwater challenges in these areas are described. Whilst these challenges will provide hydrogeologists with opportunities to influence global water issues in the 21st century, hydrogeologists will need to be able to communicate effectively with all of the stakeholders, using traditional and more modern forms of communication, including social media.

Abstract

Modelling of groundwater systems and groundwater-surface water interaction using advanced simulation software has become common practice. There are a number of approaches to simulate Lake-aquifer interactions, such as the LAK Package integrated into MODFLOW, the high conductivity and fixed stage approaches. LAK and the high conductivity approaches were applied and compared in simulating Lake- aquifer interaction in the Lake Sibayi Catchment, north-eastern, South Africa using the finite difference three-dimensional groundwater flow model, Visual MODFLOW Flex under steady state conditions. The steady state model consisted of two layers: an upper layer consisting of the Sibayi, KwaMbonambi, Kosi Bay and Port Durnford Formations which have similar characteristics, and a lower model layer representing the karst, weathered and calcareous Uloa Formation. The bottom model boundary is constrained by the impermeable Cretaceous bedrock. The model area covers the surface and groundwater catchments of Lake Sibayi which is constrained in the east by the Indian Ocean. A no-flow boundary condition is assigned to the northern, western and southern sides and a constant head boundary is assigned to the eastern side. The Mseleni River and neighbouring plantations were modelled using the River and Evapotranspiration boundary conditions respectively. Input parameters for the various boundary conditions were obtained from the previously developed high resolution conceptual model, including recharge

Abstract

Approximately 982 km3 /annum of the world’s groundwater reserve is abstracted, providing almost half of all drinking water worldwide. Globally, 70% is used for agricultural purposes while 38% for irrigation.

Most water resources of South Africa are threatened by contamination caused by industrial, agricultural, and commercial activities, and many parts of the country face ongoing drought with an urgent need to find alternative freshwater sources, such as groundwater. Groundwater constitutes approximately 15% of the total volume consumed, hence it is an important resource that supplements insufficient surface water supplies across South Africa.

Very little attention has been afforded to understanding the anthropogenically altered vadose zone as a potential source or buffer to groundwater contamination. This is evident from few research studies that has applied multiple isotopic tracers to characterise this zone. Most subsurface systems in South Africa are characterised by fractures, whereby flow and transport are concentrated along preferential flow paths.

This study aims to evaluate the performance of different tracer classes (environmental and artificial) with one another, and create a better understanding of the hydraulic properties, mean residence time and transport mechanisms of these tracers. The influence of unsaturated zone thickness on recharge mechanisms will also be evaluated.

Site visits will be conducted for the proposed study areas, and the neighbouring sources of contamination will be assessed. The matric potential and unsaturated hydraulic conductivities will be measured using various techniques. Water samples will be collected and analysed for the various tracers from the vadose zone using gravity lysimeters including suction cups. Several tracers will also be injected into boreholes where samples will be collected to calculate tracer residence times (BTC’s) and further constrain the hydraulic properties of the vadose zone. All samples will be analysed, interpreted, and simulated using the numerical finite-element modelling code SPRING, developed by delta h. The software derives quantitative results for groundwater flow and transport problems in the saturated and unsaturated zones of an aquifer.

The research is expected to provide more insight into the selection and use of environmental and artificial tracers as markers for detecting, understanding the transport processes and pathways of contaminants in typical altered South African subsurface environments. The impact derived improved characterisation of the pathways, transport, and migration processes of contaminants, leading to groundwater protection strategies and appropriate conceptual and numerical models. The output from this study will determine the vertical and horizontal flux for both saturated and unsaturated conditions.

Abstract

The national water balance is primarily based on the availability of surface water and the historic allocation thereof. The changes that are required the next 20 years to ensure sustainable development of the nation will be painful, but is unfortunately at present not part of the public discussion, it is essentially ignored in favour of more "popular water topics".This paper intends to look at a few core aspects, they include the current water allocation in the national water balance, the relative value of the utilisation, the position of groundwater resources in changing the current relative allocation and the current groundwater utilisation. The paper further intends to be a less formal presentation of these aspects with the required data, references and conclusions available for distribution afterwards.

Abstract

Geochemical investigations for a planned coal mine indicated that the coal discard material that would be generated through coal processing would have a significant potential to generate acid rock drainage. A power station is planned to be developed in close proximity to the coal mine, and the potential for co-disposal of coal discard with fly-ash material required examination. Fly-ash is typically highly alkaline and has the potential to neutralise the acidic coal discard material. In order to investigate whether this was a viable option, the geochemical interaction between the coal discard and fly-ash was investigated. Geochemical data, including acid-base accounting, total chemical compositions, leach test data and kinetic test data, were available for the coal discard material and the fly-ash. Using these data as inputs, a geochemical model was developed using Phreeqci to predict the pH of leachate generated by mixing different ratios of coal discard and fly-ash. The ratio of coal discard to fly-ash was established that would result in a leachate of neutral pH. Using this prediction, a kinetic humidity cell test was run by a commercial laboratory for a total of 52 weeks using the optimal modelled ratio of discard and fly-ash. Although leachate pH from the kinetic test initially reflected a greater contribution from fly-ash, the pH gradually decreased to the near-neutral range within the first 20 weeks, and then remained near-neutral for the remainder of the 52-week test. During this period, sulphate and metal concentrations also decreased to concentrations below those generated by either the fly-ash or coal discard individually. The addition of fly-ash to the coal discard material provided sufficient neutralising capacity to maintain the near-neutral pH of the co-disposal mixture until the readily available sulphide minerals were oxidized, and the oxidation rates decreased. At the end of the test, sufficient neutralising potential remained in the humidity cell to neutralise any remaining sulphide material. The results of this investigation suggested that, under optimal conditions, co-disposal of fly-ash with coal discard is a viable option that can result in reduced environmental impacts compared to what would be experienced if the two waste materials were disposed of separately.

Abstract

Identifying and characterising the vertical and horizontal extent of chlorinated volatile organic compound (CVOC) plumes can be a complex undertaking and subject to a high degree of uncertainty as dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) movement in the subsurface is governed most notably by geologic heterogeneities. These heterogeneities influence hydraulic conductivity allowing for preferential flow in areas of higher conductivity and potential pooling or accumulation in areas of lower conductivity. This coupled with the density-induced sinking behaviour of DNAPL itself and the effects of groundwater recharge in the aquifer result in significant challenges in assessing the distribution and extent of CVOC plumes in the subsurface. It has been recognized that high resolution site characterization (HRSC) can provide the necessary level of information to allow for appropriate solutions to be implemented to mitigate the effects of subsurface contamination. Although the initial cost of HRSC is higher, the long-term costs can be substantially reduced and the remedial benefits far greater by obtaining a better understanding of the plume characteristics upfront. The authors will discuss a case study site in South Africa, where ERM has conducted HRSC of a CVOC plume to characterise the distribution of the source area and plume architecture in order to assess the potential risk to receptors on and off-site. The source of impact resulted from the use of a tetrachloroethene (PCE)-based solvent in an on-site workshop. The following methods of characterization were employed:
- Conducting a passive soil gas survey to identify and characterise potential source zones and groundwater impacts;
- Vertical characterisation of the hydrostratigraphy, contaminant distribution and speciation in real time using a Waterloo Advanced Profiling System (APS) with a mobile on-site laboratory;
- Using the Waterloo APS data to design and install groundwater monitoring wells to delineate the vertical and lateral extent of contamination; and
- Conducting a vapour intrusion investigation including sub-slab soil gas, indoor and outdoor air sampling to estimate current risk to on-site employees.
In less than a year, the risk at the site is now largely understood and the strategies for mitigating the effects of the contamination can be targeted and optimised based on the information gained during the HRSC assessment.

Abstract

Understanding the hydrogeochemical processes that govern groundwater quality is important for sustainable management of the water resource. A study with the objective of identifying the hydrogeochemical processes and their relation with existing quality of groundwater was carried processes in the shallow aquifer of the Lubumbashi river basin. The study approach includes conventional graphical plots and multivariate analysis of the hydrochemical data to define the geochemical evaluation of aquifer system based on the ionic constituents, water types, hydrochemical facies and groundwater factors quality control. Water presents a spatial variability of chemical facies (HCO3- - Ca2+ - Mg2+, Cl- - Na+ + K+, Cl- - Ca2+ - Mg2+ , HCO3- - Na+ + K+ ) which is in relation to their interaction with the geological formation of the basin. The results suggest that different natural hydrogeochemical processes like simple dissolution, mixing, and ion exchange are the key factors. Limited reverse ion exchange has been noticed at few locations of the study. At most, factor analyses substantiate the findings of conventional graphical plots and provide greater confidence in data-interpretation. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Industrial Management Facilities represent a hazard to the down gradient surface water and groundwater environment. The assessment of the risks such facilities pose to the water environment is an important issue and certain compliance standards are set by regulators, particularly when the potential for an impact on the water environment has been identified. This paper will aim to describe how the contamination was conceptualized, estimated, limitations and how it is technically not feasible to establish one limit or compliance value of known contamination in different aquifers.

Abstract

The electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) method has become one of the most commonly used geophysical techniques to investigate the shallow subsurface, and has found wide application in geohydrological studies. The standard protocols used for 2D ERT surveying assume that the survey lines are straight; however, due to the presence of infrastructure and other surface constraints it is not always possible to conduct surveys along straight lines. Previous studies have shown that curved and angled survey lines could impact on the recorded ERT data in the following ways: 1) the true geometric factors may differ from the assumed geometric factors and thus affect the calculated apparent resistivities, 2) the depths of investigation may be overestimated, and 3) the recorded apparent resistivities may be representative of the subsurface conditions at positions laterally displaced from the survey line. In addition, previous studies have shown that although the errors in the apparent resistivities may be small even for large angles and curvatures, these errors may rapidly increase in magnitude during inversion. In this paper we expand on the previous work by further examining the influence of angled survey lines on ERT data recorded with the Wenner (?) array. We do this by: 1) calculating the changes in the geometric factors and pseudo-depths for angled survey lines, 2) forward and inverse modelling of ERT datasets affected by angled survey lines, and 3) examining the impact of angled survey lines on real ERT datasets recorded across different geological structures.

Abstract

Edible vegetable oil (EVO) substrates have been successfully used to stimulate the in situ anaerobic biodegradation of groundwater contaminated chlorinated solvents as well as numerous other anaerobically biodegradable contaminants like nitrates and perchlorates at a many commercial, industrial and military sites throughout the United States of America and Europe. EVO substrates are classified as a slow release fluid substrate, and comprise of food grade vegetable oil such as canola or soya bean oil. The EVO substrate serves as an easily biodegradable source of carbon (energy) used to create a geochemically favorable environment for the anaerobic microbial communities to degrade specific contaminants of concern. EVO substrate's can either be introduced into the subsurface environment as pure oil, in the form of light non aqueous phase or as an oil/water emulsion. The emulsified vegetable oil substrates holds several benefits over non-emulsified vegetable oil as the fine oil droplet size of the commercially manufactured emulsified oils can more easily penetrate the heterogeneous pore and fracture spaces of the aquifer matrix. The use of this technology to stimulate in situ biodegradation of groundwater contaminants is still relatively unknown in South Africa. This paper will give an overview of the EVO technology and its application, specifically looking at the advantages of using this relatively inexpensive, innocuous substrate based technology to remediate contaminated groundwater within fractured rock environments commonly encountered in South Africa. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

PMWIN5.3 has been one of the most commonly used software for groundwater modeling because of its free source and the adoption of popular core program MODFLOW. However, the fixed formats required for data input and lack of GIS data support have posted big challenges for groundwater modelers who are dealing with large areas with complicated hydrogeological conditions. In South Africa, most geological and hydrogeological data have been captured and stored in GIS format during various national research projects such as WR2005, NGA and etc. Therefore, a proper linkage between PMWIN and ArcGIS is expected to do the preprocessing for modeling in PMWIN. Visual Basic for Application (VBA) embedded in ArcGIS 9.3 was used to develop the linkage. Based on the conceptualization of the study area, the model dimension, discretization and many value setting processes can be easily carried out in ArcGIS other than directly in PMWIN. Then the grid specification file and other input files can be exported as the PMWIN-compatible files. The functions of move, rotation, refinement, sub-model, deleting and inserting row(s) or column(s) of the model have also been developed to avoid the inconvenience aroused from model modification. The linkage can be used with a higher version of PMWIN or ArcGIS. It has been applied to several gold fields in the Witwatersrand gold basin to simulate the groundwater flow and mass transportation for various conditions and scenarios. One of the applications will be presented in this paper. It has been proved that the linkage is efficient and easy to use. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

The University of the Free State investigated the possible dewatering of boreholes situated on the farm properties in the vicinity of an underground coal mine. The investigation consisted of three phases.
Phase one was a hydrocensus on the farm properties.
Phase two consisted of borehole yield determination by conducting pumping tests on the boreholes (where possible) identified in the hydrocensus phase.
Phase three included a visit to the underground mine workings, where water samples were collected at different groundwater inflow locations (especially water flowing in at the ventilation shaft). The monthly groundwater monitoring data of the underground coal mine was also incorporated for interpretation purposes. It appears that the water levels of the boreholes outside the mining boundaries are not affected. The water levels of the monthly monitored boreholes stabilized or even started recovering over the last few years. It also seems as though the larger streams in the area drains the groundwater as most of the deeper water level areas coincides with the presence of the streams. Most of the boreholes have typical borehole yields that is to be expected from Karoo formations i.e. between 0.5 and 1.5 L/s. An interesting observation is that a number of the boreholes with deep water levels are situated along dolerite contact zones at the western side of the mine. This may also be a geological structure resulting from the impact of a meteorite? From the available data it appears that the boreholes along this structure have the same chemical character as the water flowing down the ventilation shaft, strengthening the belief that the water from the shaft originates from this structure (or structures).

To determine the origin of the water flowing down the ventilation shaft, a detailed study of the structure to the west of the shaft is recommended. The farmers in the area should carefully monitor their water use in the boreholes, as over-abstraction can result in total failure of some of the boreholes.

Abstract

Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a chemical process that converts coal in-situ into a gaseous product at elevated pressures and temperatures. Underground coal gasification produces an underground cavity which may be partially filled with gas, ash, unburned coal and other hydrocarbons. In this study we assessed the stratification down the length of the boreholes. This was done by comparing the Electrical Conductivity (EC) profile of background boreholes to the verification borehole that were drilled after gasification was complete. Stratification was seen in all boreholes including the cavity borehole. The EC levels were lower in the cavity which may be due to the dilution factor induced by injecting surface water during quenching of the gasifier. The thermal gradient shows a steady increase in temperature with depth with higher temperatures measured in the verification boreholes. This increase in temperature may suggest that heat is still being retained in the cavity which is expected. This study serves as the preliminary investigation on the stratification of temperature and EC and will be proceeded with in depth surveys that covers all the groundwater monitoring wells that monitor different aquifers identified on site proceed.

Abstract

It has become increasingly apparent that understanding fractured rock mechanics as well as the interactions and exchanges between groundwater and surface water systems are crucial considering the increase in demand of each in recent years. Especially in a time where long term sustainability is of great importance for many water management agencies, groundwater professionals and the average water users. Previous callow experience has shown that there is a misunderstanding in the correct interpretation and analyses of pumping test data. The fracture characterisation (FC) method software provides a most useful tool in the overall understanding of a fractured rock aquifer, quantification of the aquifer’s hydraulic (flow regime and flow boundary conditions) and physical properties, only if the time-drawdown relationships are correctly interpreted and when the theoretical application principles are applied. Interpretation is not simply a copy and paste of the aquifer test data into the software to get a quick answer (especially when project time constraints are considered), however, recent experiences with numerous field examples, required intricate understanding of the geological environment, intended use and abstraction schedules coupled with the academic applications on which the software was based for correct interpretation.

Through the application of correct interpretation principles, a plethora of flow information becomes available, of which examples will be provided in the presentation itself. By achieving this, flow can be conceptualised for inputs into a conservative scale three-dimensional numerical flow model and calibrated based on measurable data in a fraction of the time of a conventional regional model. Although higher confidence levels are achieved with these practical solutions, monitoring programmes are still required to provide better insight of the aquifer responses to long-term abstraction and recovery.

Abstract

Arsenic is a common contaminant typically found in effluent from gold mine operations and copper smelters throughout the world. The geochemical behaviour of arsenic in contact with dolomite underlying an arsenic containing waste rock pile was investigated. The interaction between the arsenic and the dolomite is an important control in the subsequent transport of the arsenic in the dolomitic aquifer. Rocks with varying dolomite content were tested to investigate the interaction between the arsenic and dolomite. From the modelling and test results it was estimated that in the aquifer, between 60 - 90% of arsenic is present in the solid phase under oxidation conditions at >50 mV. At 50 to -25 mV about 40 - 60% of the arsenic is estimated to be present in the solid phase and below -25 mV about 0 - 10% of arsenic will be present in the solid phase. Although some arsenic is removed by the dolomite in the aquifer the arsenic would still be present above acceptable guidelines for drinking water. The arsenic in the solid phase will be in equilibrium with the aquifer water and could be remobilised 1) under more reducing conditions or 2) with a decrease in arsenic in the aquifer.

Abstract

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is an emerging, in-situ mining technology that has the advantage to access a low cost energy source that is currently classified as not technically or economically accessible by means of conventional mining methods. As such it offers significant potential to dramatically increase the world's non-recoverable coal resource.

Groundwater monitoring in the South African mining industry for conventional coal mining as an example, is well established, with specific SANS, ASTM and ISO Standards dedicated for the specific environment, location and purposes. In South Africa a major impact of the coal mining industry can be a reduction in the groundwater quantity and quality. South-Africa's groundwater is a critical resource that provides environmental benefits and contributes to the well-being of the citizens and the economic growth. Groundwater supplies the drinking water needs of a large portion of the population; in some rural areas it represents the only source of water for domestic use. Utilization and implementation of groundwater monitoring programs are thus non-negotiable.

The groundwater quality management mission, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation in South-Africa, is set in the context of the water resources mission and is as follows:

"To manage groundwater quality in an integrated
and sustainable manner within the context of the National
Water Resource Strategy and thereby to provide an
adequate level of protection to groundwater resources
and secure the supply of water of acceptable quality."

The scope of this paper is to propose an implemention strategy and a fit-for-purpose groundwater monitoring program for any Underground Coal Gasification commercial operation. It is thus important to pro-actively prevent or minimise potential impacts on groundwater through long-term protection and monitoring plans. A successful monitoring program is one that consists of
(1) an adequate number of wells, located at planned and strategic points;
(2) sufficient groundwater sampling schedules; and
(3) a dedicated monitoring program and quality control standard.

In order to have an efficient monitoring program and to prevent unnecessary analysis and costs, it is also critical to determine upfront what parameters have to be monitored for the specific process and site conditions.

Abstract

The redox state of groundwater is an important variable for determining the solubility and mobility of elements which can occur in different redox states at earth surface conditions, such as Fe, Mn, Cr, As, U, N, S, V etc. Eh-pH diagrams are potentially invaluable for understanding and predicting the behaviour of these redox species yet, unlike pH, redox is seldom a routine field parameter due to the difficulties in measurement and interpretation.
This paper discusses the potential use and limitations of field measurements of the redox state of groundwater with specific reference to the geochemical behaviour of dissolved iron in the Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifer. As part of an investigation into iron cycling within the TMG aquifer, the redox state of groundwater was estimated through three different methods, namely direct in-situ measurement of Eh, direct measurement of DO and calculation from iron speciation in groundwater. Comparison of the results from the three methods highlights the potential value of collecting redox data, but also the complexity of controls on redox potential. The redox measurements allowed the determination of the controlling reactions on iron mobility within the TMG, but only by using the iron speciation method to calibrate the in-situ values and thereby identify which redox pair was controlling redox equilibrium. As this requires measurement of redox ion pairs in solution, it is unlikely to become a routine method for redox assessment, unless the specific redox state of an element is critical in understanding its mobility. For the majority of groundwater site investigations, measurement of the dissolved oxygen content of groundwater is probably sufficient as a first pass.

Abstract

The groundwater quality in semi-arid aquifers can be deteriorated very rabidly due to many factors. The most important factor affecting the quality of groundwater quality in Gaza Strip aquifer is the excess pumping that resulting from the high population density in the area. The goal of this study to investigate the future potential deterioration in groundwater salinity using scenario analysis modeling by artificial neural networks (ANN). The ANN model is utilized to predict the groundwater salinity based on three future scenarios of pumping quantities and rates from the Gaza strip aquifer. The results shows that in case the pumping rate remains as the present conditions, chloride concentration will increase rapidly in most areas of the Gaza Strip and the availability of fresh water will decrease in disquieting rates by year 2030. Results proved that groundwater salinity will be improved solely if the pumping rate is reduced by half and it also will be improved considerably if the pumping rate is completely stopped. Based on the results of this study, an urgent calling for developing other drinking water resources to secure the water demand is the most effective solution to decrease the groundwater salinity.

Abstract

A standard methodology for establishing a groundwater baseline for unconventional gas projects in South Africa did not exist at the time the current study was undertaken. The study was therefore aimed at filling this gap, specifically focusing on hydraulic fracturing and underground coal gasification (UCG) operations.

An extensive literature review was conducted to establish the baseline methodology. The latest literature on hydraulic fracturing and UCG was reviewed to determine how these activities may potentially impact on the groundwater environment. The literature review further examined the role that geological structures, such as dolerite intrusives, may be play in the migration of contaminants associated with unconventional gas projects. The literature review then focused on questions such as what size the study area should be, what geological and hydrogeological investigations need to be conducted before embarking on the sampling events, which chemical parameters need to be included in the groundwater analyses, whether the drilling of dedicated boreholes are required to collect representative groundwater samples, and how to collect representative samples for these different chemical parameters.

In this paper, the proposed methodology is presented in the form of a flow diagram to be used to guide future groundwater baseline projects in South Africa.

Abstract

Water monitoring is a key aspect in the mining industry, in terms of gathering baseline data during the pre-construction stage, identifying potential areas of concern and mitigating source pollutants during the operational stage. A proper water monitoring program assists in the monitoring of plume development and water level rebound during the closure phase. The data made available through consistent long term monitoring should not be underestimated. Monitoring the effect that coal mine operations have on the water quality and quantity of surface and groundwater resources is a complex and multidisciplinary task. Numerous methodologies exist for monitoring of this kind. This paper will supply an overview of the water- rock chemistry associated with coal mine environments and the key indicator elements that should be focused on for water monitoring as well a review of the Best Practice Guidelines requirements in terms of water monitoring. Two case studies of coal mines in KwaZulu Natal will be reviewed, the key challenges outlined and mitigation measures implemented. The impact of requirements such as those set out by the Department of Water and Sanitation in terms of strict water quality limits for water containment and waste facilities as specified by Water Use Licences has also created unrealistic non-compliance conditions. The initial approach to creating a water monitoring programme should involve first identifying gaps in previous datasets and delineating potential sources of contamination. The sampling frequency will depend primarily on the water resource being monitored and the water quality analysis will depend on the type of facility. The facilities required for a specific situation will depend on the type and amount of waste generated, potential for leachate formation, vulnerability of groundwater resources and potential for water usage or resource sensitivity.

Abstract

Millions of tons of coal ash are produced across the globe, during coal combustion for power generation. South Africa relies largely on coal for electricity generation. The current disposal methods of coal ash are not sustainable, due to landfill space limitations and operational costs. One way/means of disposing of coal ash that could provide environmental and financial benefits; is to backfill opencast mines with the ash. However, a limited number of studies have been conducted to assess the feasibility of this method in South Africa. Thus the aim of the experiment is to monitor bulk ash disposal under field conditions to improve the understanding of the geochemical and hydrogeological processes occurring during the actual deposition of coal ash in opencast coal mines. To achieve the aim (1) a gravity lysimeter will be built containing both mine spoils and coal ash representing field conditions; (2) the factors (CO2, water level and moisture content) affecting acid mine drainage will be monitored in the lysimeter and (3) the change in the quantity and quality of the discharge released from the lysimeter.

Abstract

Currently limited progress is made in South Africa (and Africa) on the protection of groundwater used for drinking water. To achieve the objective of water for growth and development and to provide socio-economic and environmental benefits of communities using groundwater, significant aquifers and well fields must be adequately protected. Groundwater protection zoning is seen as an important step in this regard. Till today, limited case studies of groundwater protection zoning exists in Africa. A case study at the Rawsonville research site is conducted in this research project. Generic protection zones can be delineated at the site using published reports and database data. However, due to the complexity of the fractured rock at the research site, these would be of limited value and would not provide adequate protection for the well field Baseline data was collected by conducting a hydro census and through aquifer tests. An inventory of the activities that can potentially impact water quality was done and aquifer characteristics such as transmissivity and hydraulic conductivity were determined through various types of aquifer testing. Fracture positions were identified using fluid logging and fracture flow rates were also measured using fluid logging data. A conceptual model and preliminary 3D numerical model were created to try to understand groundwater movement at the research site. The knowledge gained will be used to guide information gathering and monitoring that can be used to build a more detailed numerical model and implement a trustworthy groundwater protection plan at a later stage. The expected results will have applicability to groundwater management in general. The protection plan developed during this project can be used as a case study to update and improve policy implementation. {List only- not presented}