Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 751 - 795 of 795 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

Abstract

The Deep Artesian Groundwater Exploration for Oudtshoorn Supply (DAGEOS) Project is culminating in development of the Blossoms Well-field (C1 Target Zone), about 20 km south of the town. The target Peninsula Aquifer is located at depths >300 m below ground level, geopressured to ~800 kPa (8 bar) artesian head. Each production well has to be uniquely designed for site-specific hydrogeological, hydrochemical and aquifer hydraulic conditions. Hydrostratigraphy rather than stratigraphy must inform the final well design. It is a recipe for unnecessary expense and deleterious consequences for aquifer management, to design and commence the drilling of wide-diameter production wells without the data and information provided by necessary exploration and essential pilot boreholes, yielding broader hydrogeological insights.

During discovery exploration at the C1b Target Site Area (TSA), drilling of a 715 m-deep  diamond-core exploration  borehole (C1b2)  was essential  for  the  proper  siting and  safe design  of  a  production  well  (C1b3).  Following confirmation  of  the  artesian nature  of  the  Peninsula Aquifer, the C1b2 borehole was equipped for monitoring, prior to the drilling of the nearby (~25 m distant) C1b3 production well, which was piloted with a core borehole down to a low level (~290 m) within the Goudini Aquitard, where it became marginally artesian and was then plugged and sealed. This pilot borehole was reamed with wide-diameter percussion tools to a depth where casing could be firmly cemented within the Goudini, above a solid, relatively unfractured zone. The final stage of drilling into the Peninsula Aquifer, using the Wassara water-hammer method, was thereafter continuously monitored from the C1b2 site, and the subsequent recovery history of C1b3 is comprehensively documented. The DAGEOS   drilling   and   deep-groundwater   monitoring   provides   significant   experience   in   solving technological problems likely to be encountered in the future development of shale-gas in the main Karoo basin. The confined, artesian aquifer behaves very differently to other, conventional groundwater schemes and requires a different management approach that focuses on managing the artesian pressure within the basin  and  its  response  to  abstraction.

The  potential  adverse  influences  of  high  and/or  extended abstraction on the Peninsula Aquifer may be divided into two general categories: 1) depletion or degradation of the groundwater resource, and 2) environmental or ecological consequences. Depletion in the case of a confined aquifer refers to depletion in storage capacity due to non-elastic behaviour. Environmental/ecological impacts of groundwater extraction arise only when the ‘radius-of-influence’, defined by the distance from the centroid of a well-field to the perimeter of the cone of depression in the ‘potentiometric surface’ (surface of pressure potential in the aquifer), reaches recharge and or discharge boundaries. The new Oudtshoorn Groundwater Scheme affords an opportunity to stage a transition from an increasingly risky reliance on surface water that is prone to severe reduction through climate change, to a deep groundwater resource that is capable of acting as a sustainable buffer against water-scarcity through drought intervals that may endure over decades rather than years, and can be operated without electricity supply by utilising the artesian pressure in the aquifer. This approach was demonstrated in a 3- month artesian flow test during 2009.

 

Abstract

The determination of a sustainable groundwater yield is a complex and challenging task. There is a high degree of uncertainty associated with most aquifer parameters such as recharge from rainfall and aquifer storativity, especially in  fractured aquifers. This leads  to  analysts often taking a  very  conservative and  risk  adverse approach  in  determining  the  sustainableyield  for  boreholes.  The  problem  with  this  approach  is  that groundwater can be considered as impractical or not an option, due to the low and conservative yields. Potential well-fields also become too expensive to develop. The concept of sustainability does not only cater for the environment, but also for people (social) and the economy (business). A popular method to determine groundwater sustainability is the groundwater balance (also known as the groundwater budget) method. This method has come under scrutiny as it is proposed that capture zone method is a more conservative and technically correct approach. Two of the most important parameters in determining long-term borehole yield, namely recharge and storativity, are unknown and unknowable at the time of well-field development. At best, qualified guesses can be made with regard to these two parameters. This makes the capture method impractical as boreholes have to be drilled and tested first and capital spent before any planning can be done. 

In this paper, it was shown that the risk adverse approach in determining borehole yield will result in the most expensive groundwater development option. The principle of sustainability requires that environmental, social and economic considerations be taken into account. By following a risk adverse approach, which would be the most expensive, the principle of sustainability is violated and it cannot be claimed that the borehole yield is sustainable. Due  to  the  exponential relationship between  risk  and  cost,  a  no-risk  approach  would  be infinitely expensive. It was shown that due to the uncertainties, it is actually impossible to determine the sustainable yield of a borehole. The objective should rather be to develop a sustainable groundwater management plan. This can be achieved by following a systems management approach based on the minimum groundwater balance. The minimum groundwater balance approach makes use of, for example, hydro census data to determine a minimum groundwater balance for a system of aquifers based on recharge at a minimulevel of assurance, for example lower 95th percentile, rather than making use of the mean annual precipitation (MAP). The potential effects of storativity are neglected at this stage. The systems management approach was applied on a case study to demonstrate the application where some risk was taken for a limited period of time while monitoring takes place. Proactive warning systems would alert decision-makers when to develop new aquifers which are predefined, based on the minimum groundwater balance method. The difference is that in the case of the risk adverse approach, should it come to light that the recommended abstraction rates were wrong in the sense that it is too low, the capital is spent and cannot be recovered. In the case of the systems approach, where slightly risky abstraction rates are recommended for a limited period of time, additional well- fields can be developed well in advance, before any negative environmental impacts can occur.

Abstract

The key towards modern groundwater management lies in a profound strategy from monitoring data collection over data processing and information management to clear reporting on the development of groundwater resources. Only thus planners are enabled to take informed decisions towards sustainable use and well-keeping of available groundwater. A core in this strategy is the digital database in which all relevant data and information is stored, handled and displayed. It is thus that the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) decided to replace within the activities of the Namibian–German cooperation project “Groundwater for the north of Namibia”, the existing national groundwater database GROWAS with the completely new development of the GROWAS II  version.  Through  the  experience  of  the  project  partner  BGR  (Federal  Institute  for Geosciences and Natural Resources) the focus was put on the critical issue of data quality control. As the analysis of the old system indicated unclear data operation procedures as a major source of errors, improved user-friendliness was high on the agenda for the new database. Developed closely to  the  needs  of  Namibian  Water  Authorities,  GROWAS II  features  a  GIS-based  graphical  user interface (GUI) with a vast range of query functions, a modular system including time series tools, hydrochemistry, licenses for abstraction application and groundwater status reporting functions, among others. Quality control is secured through different measures like the “fosterage” option which allows the input of data into a temporary status with restricted access until released by senior experts, the quick and direct interaction with Google Earth to verify locations and the extensive use of look-up tables and descriptive keys in alignment with other regional geo-databases. Furthermore, data entries can be marked according to their estimated reliability with traffic light coding. These measures should ensure that only good quality data will be added in the future. Upcoming development steps are the practical tests of the single modules in day-to-day use, the integration into or exchange with other information systems and the improvement of older existing data as far as possible. Namibia will thus be better prepared for future groundwater challenges.

Abstract

The Palla Road well-field is located in the Central District of Botswana approximately 160 km from Gaborone and 50 km from Mahalapye. The aim of this project was to review and update the existing groundwater model developed in the late 1990s of the Palla Road well-field in order to assess the viability of long-term groundwater abstraction due to the increasing water demands in the region. The  main  hydrogeological  units  recognised  in  the  project  area  comprise  of  aquifer  systems developed in the Ntane Sandstone Formation and formations of the Middle Ecca Group with minor aquifers developed in Mosolotsane Formation and the Stormberg Basalt. The finite-difference model boundary covers an area of 3 702 km2  and was set-up as a three-dimensional semi-uniform grid comprising of four layers. Eight recharge and 14 hydraulic conductivity zones in accordance with the geological  model  were  distinguished.  Steady  state calibration  was  accomplished  by  varying the hydraulic conductivity values, while keeping the recharge rates constant in order to achieve a unique solution. Transient calibration of the model covered three larger stress periods namely: (1) initial condition (pre-1988), (2) abstraction period (1988 to 2012) and  (3) predicted model simulations (2013 to 2036).

The calibrated groundwater flow model was used to assess the impacts associated with  the  proposed  abstraction  scenarios  for  the  Palla  Road  and  Chepete  well-fields  with consideration  of  potential  cumulative  impacts  due  to  the  Kudumatse  well-field.  Three  basic scenarios comprising certain sub-scenarios based on the future water demand for the Palla Road and Kudumatse region were considered. The model simulations show that the abstraction scenario 2a, namely simultaneous abstractions from the Chepete/Palla Road and Kudumatse well-fields, poses a risk to the sustainability of downstream water resources. The maximum simulated drawdown in the central and  southern parts of the Palla Road well-field  reach 14 m after six years of  pumping. Although outflow diminishes after a six-year period, it is restored to approximately 80-90% after the simulated recovery period. The presented 3-D multi-layer model can be used as a tool to determine the optimal abstraction rates while giving cognisance to the sustainability of the resource.

Abstract

With increasing focus on wasted expenditure within local government and recent media reports on the money spent on poor quality service, it is becoming progressively important for those in a position of engaging consultants, either for groundwater supply or environmental work, to have confidence in the company or person they have employed. This paper focuses on how to assess consultants  before   they   walk  through   the  door  based   on   qualifications,   CVs,   professional registrations and previous work experience. It goes through the project lifestyle, explaining in a non- technical fashion the different processes involved in a groundwater supply or groundwater contamination assessment and provide simple indicators of good practice that should be evident in the   consultant's   work.   Topics   covered   include   assessing   proposals,   gathering   background information, health and safety, appointing sub-contractors, data quality, the use of appropriate published procedural guidelines, the use of relevant quality guidelines and what deliverables should be provided. 

Abstract

The Heuningvlei pipeline scheme was built in the 1980s to supply water to rural communities in a low rainfall area (<300 mm/annum) – Northern Cape Province. In 2008, the Joe Morolong Local Municipality identified the need to refurbish and upgrade the pipeline scheme for socio-economic reasons. The safe yield and water quality information of existing sources supplying the scheme was unreliable. This was investigated by borehole test pumping and water quality sampling, which indicated reduced yields and deteriorating water quality since 1989.

Water demands, which includes supply to communities for domestic use, schools, clinics and stock watering in the Heuningvlei area, was estimated at 2 380 m3/day or 868 700 m3/annum. The potable groundwater  supply  recommended  from  11  existing  boreholes  is  316 937 m3/annum,  leaving  a deficit of 551 763 m3. The aquifers utilised for the existing water supply comprise fractured banded iron formations (BIF) and dolomite bedrock. Kalahari sedimentary and dolomite aquifers to the east of the pipeline scheme contain high saline water not suitable for domestic use.

No surface water sources exist in the area and the feasibility of the socio-economic development project depends on establishing local groundwater resources that would not impact on existing sources. A target area was identified which is approximately 10 km south from the pipeline. This area is covered by the thick Kalahari sediments (up to 130 m) underlain by dolomite bedrock with a potable groundwater balance of 2.3 million m3/a. Both the associated primary (Kalahari) and secondary (Dolomite) aquifers contain potable water. The target area was not investigated in the past due to perceived poor water quality (elevated salinity) conditions, very low (<10 %) borehole exploitability prospect and difficult drilling conditions.

The paper will discuss the importance of recharge estimate and understanding of flow regime at sub-catchment and local scale, use of an airborne magnetic survey in conjunction with ground geophysics, mapping of Kalahari sediment thickness, and successful drilling of exploration boreholes to exploit the deeper Kalahari sedimentary and dolomite bedrock aquifers. The successful development of localised potable water in a low rainfall area made it feasible to implement the Heuningvlei socio-economic development project.

Abstract

The aquifer vulnerability of the Molototsi (B81G) and Middle Letaba (B82D) quaternary catchments was assessed to determine the influence of the vadose zone on the groundwater regime. The aquifer vulnerability was assessed by developing a new method, which evaluates the vadose zone as a pathway for pollutants by using the following four parameters: Recharge, Depth to water table, Soil type (saturated vertical hydraulic conductivity) and Slope (RDSS). Recharge was estimated using the Chloride-mass balance method and the depth to the water table was measured in the field using dipmeter. The seepage behaviour (soil type) was determined as hydraulic conductivity from in situ infiltration and percolation testing (SABS 0252-2:1993 and double ring infiltrometer). The slopes were determined with the digital elevation method using ArcGIS software. The four parameters were overlaid using Weighted Sum, Weighted Overlay and Raster Calculator to produce the vulnerability map. Different weightings were attributed in the methods and the best selected. The results obtained indicated high vulnerability on the lower and upper parts of both catchments. Aquifers in areas which showed high vulnerability are at high risk of contamination. The benefits of the  method  described  are  (a) the  easy  quantification  of  the  parameters  through  fairly  simple methods and (b) the exclusion of arbitrary index values.

Abstract

Unconventional gas mining is a new and unprecedented activity in South Africa that may pose various risks to groundwater resources. According to legal experts, South Africa does not currently have the capacity to manage this activity effectively due to various lacunae that exist in the South African legislation. The possible impacts of unconventional gas mining on groundwater, as well as governance strategies that are used in countries where unconventional gas mining is performed; have been analysed and will be discussed. Based on possible impacts and strategies to manage and protect groundwater internationally, possible governance options for the management of South Africa’s groundwater resources are proposed

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the geohydrological status of the aquifer within the boundaries of the Vanrhynsdorp Water User Association with emphasis on the central catchment, E33F. This will assist the Department of Water Affairs with the introduction of compulsory groundwater-use licensing and empowerment of the Vanrhynsdorp Water User Association to manage the resource. In this study emphasis was given to the determination of the water balance and  groundwater  reserve  of  the  central  catchment  and  the  designing  of  a  representative groundwater monitoring network. A literature study of five projects conducted since 1978 was done. Comparisons were made between the data and results of these studies. All the historical data from these studies, as well as the data from the current monitoring programme up until December 2012, were put together and analysed. A conceptual model and groundwater reserve determination, as well as a representative monitoring network, were produced. The study showed a general decline in groundwater levels over a 34-year period. It also showed an increase in rainfall over the last 20 years. Based on the reserve determination and the declining groundwater level in spite of increased rainfall and thus recharge, it was concluded that over-abstraction of groundwater in the study area is taking place. It is recommended that compulsory licensing should be put in place as soon as possible and  that  no  additional  groundwater-use  licences  should  be  granted  in  the  study  area.  The installation  of  flow  meters  on  all  production  boreholes  should  be  stipulated  in  the  licensing condition. This will assist the monitoring and regulation of groundwater abstraction volumes.

Abstract

Characterisation of fracture positions is important when dealing with groundwater monitoring, protection and management. Fractures are often good conduits for water and contaminants, leading to  high  flow  velocities  and  the  fast  spread  of  contaminants  in  these  conduits.  Best  practice guidelines related to groundwater sampling suggest that specific depth sampling with specialised bailers or low flow purging are the preferred methodologies to characterise a pollution source. These methods require knowledge about the fracture positions and, more importantly, flow zones in the boreholes. Down-the-hole geophysical and flow logging are expensive, complicated and time consuming. Not all fracture zones identified with geophysical logging seem to contribute to flow through   the   borehole.   An   efficient   and   cost-effective   methodology   is   required   for   the characterisation of position and flow in individual fractures. This research reviewed the use of Fluid Electrical Conductivity (FEC) logging to assist with the development of a monitoring protocol. FEC logging  proved  to  be  beneficial  as  it  provided  individual  fracture  positions,  fracture  yields  and vertical groundwater flow directions. FEC logging proved to be fast, cost-effective and practical in deep boreholes. The technique allows the development of a site-specific sampling protocol. The information so obtained assists with the identification of the appropriate sampling depths during monitoring.

Abstract

Only 40% of all the available groundwater resources are developed in South Africa and the development of surface water are becoming more costly and challenging. The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs acknowledge this and identified the need to increase the use of groundwater as one of the interventions to address the increasing water requirement of towns and communities. Over the last seven years the Department of Water Affairs developed many reconciliation strategies for the area of water management, the big metro municipalities and for the smaller towns and villages in South Africa. The reconciliation strategies entails, among other things, sustainable ways to source additional water supplies for the selected towns/metro’s or villages. 

Groundwater played a major role in the recommended interventions. The challenges are now the implementation of the groundwater schemes and sustainable management of the groundwater resources. Or differently put: the balancing act between selling of groundwater and the prevention of over-abstraction. The bankability of regional schemes, the credibility of groundwater as a bulk scheme source, poor management of boreholes/well-fields, institutional responsibility, acceptable quality and treatment of groundwater, still challenge the use of groundwater development. Groundwater need to play its role in addressing the future water needs of South Africa, or can it?

Abstract

Gold mining on the Witwatersrand has started in the late nineteenth century as sporadic open cast mining and ceased in the late twentieth century, leaving a complex network of haulages, tunnels and ultra-deep vertical shafts/sub-vertical shafts. At least three ore bodies (conglomeritic horizons) were mined down to a depth in excess of 3 000 m from surface. Three large mining basins resulted from the mining methodology applied, namely the Western, Central and Eastern (Rand) Basins.

In  the  early  days  of  mining  on  the  Witwatersrand  reefs,  gold  mine  companies  realised  that dewatering of their mine workings is required to secure mining operations at deeper levels and decades of pumping and treatment of pumped mine water followed. As the majority of deep gold mines on the Witwatersrand ceased operations since 1970, the deeper portions of the mine voids became flooded and led to a new era in the mining history in the Witwatersrand.

Rewatering of the mine voids is a combination between excessive surface water ingress generated by surface runoff, and to lesser degree recharge from an overlying fractured and weathered aquifer system (where developed). The flow regime in the mine voids from a scattering of ingress/direct recharge points and single discharge points are complex and is driven by shallow (<100 m) and probably deep (>1 000 m) man-made preferential pathways.

The high concentrations of iron sulphide minerals (pyrite. for example FeS2) content, three percent (by weight), of the mined reefs/backfilled stopes and surrounding waste rock piles/tailings dams mobilised significant levels of sulphates (SO4) and ferrous iron (Fe2+) producing an acidic mine-void water (<3 pH).

Monitoring of the rewatering mine void hydrological regime became necessary following the first acid-mine water decant from a borehole in the West Rand Basin, and the Department initiated a mine-void water table elevation trend and water quality monitoring programme. Results from this monitoring programme will be illustrated and discussed in this paper with some views on the future water quality and discharge scenarios.

Abstract

The mineral-rich basin of the West African region has vast reserves of gold, diamond as well as iron ore deposits. Throughout the regional geological setting characterised by structural variations and intrusive belts with metamorphic mineral-rich sequences covered by saprolite soils, one common chemical constituent remains a constant in the water reserves. Arsenic is in high concentrations throughout the region with chemical ranges commonly above the various country guidelines as well as international IFC and WHO standards. The aqueous chemical species is associated with arsenopyrite-rich mineralogy of the regional greenstone belts and highly weathered soils.

This conference presentation investigates the natural source of the arsenic through baseline data, as well as the effect of mining on the already high concentrations of arsenic in both the groundwater and surface water. Natural levels of various chemical species in the regional area are already high at baseline level. One of the main research questions is thus whether mining and other anthropogenic activities will have  an impact on the environment or will  the changes to concentrations be so insignificant to allow the ecosystems and water users to continue in their current ways without any effect. Various case studies in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries have been combined to investigate the arsenic-rich resources of the West African region through groundwater specialist investigative methods with emphasis on geochemical modelling of the fluid–rock and fluid–fluid interactions leading to the aqueous chemical conditions in the region.

Abstract

The Fountains East and Fountains West groundwater compartments (by means of the Upper and Lower Fountain springs) have been supplying the City of Pretoria with water since its founding in 1855. These adjacent compartments which are underlain by the Malmani dolomites of the Chuniespoort Group are separated by the Pretoria syenite dyke and are bounded to the north by the rocks of the Pretoria Group (Timeball Hill Formation). Inorganic chemistry data (2007-2012), as well as spring discharge volumes (2011-2012) for the Upper and Lower Fountain springs, supplied by the City of Tshwane Municipality, is being used to characterise the two compartments. This is done by means of piper diagrams, bar graphs and temporal plots. Interpretation of the combined chemical and discharge volume data as well as geotechnical and isotope data (in progress) will aid in understanding  the  karst  aquifer  and  the  controls  on  groundwater  system  within  and  possibly between these compartments.

Abstract

In this study, a petroleum hydrocarbon contamination assessment was conducted at a cluster of petroleum products storage and handling facilities located on the Southern African Indian Ocean coastal zone. The Port Development Company identified the need for the assessment of the soil and groundwater pollution status at the tank farms in order to develop a remediation and management plan to address hydrocarbon related soil and groundwater contamination. Previous work conducted at the site consisted of the drilling and sampling of a limited number of boreholes. The current investigation was triggered by the presence of a free-phase product in the coal-grading tippler pit located ~350 m down gradient and south-east and east of the tank farms, rendering the operation thereof  unsafe.  The  assessment  intended  identifying  the  source  of  product,  distribution  and mobility, the extent of the contamination, and the human health risks associated with the contamination. To achieve these, the investigation comprised site walkover and interviews, drilling of 76 hand auger and 101 direct push holes to facilitate vertical soil profile VOC screening and sampling  (soil  and  groundwater),  as  well  as  granulomeric  analysis  to  understand   grain   size distribution  within  the  soil  profile.  The  highest  concentrations  were  associated with the coarse sand layers with the highest permeability. Free-phase hydrocarbons product was found in holes adjacent to the pipeline responsible for the distribution of the product from the jetty to the different tanks farms. Of the 57 soil samples, 21 had high values of GRO and DRO, with 22 below Detection Limit and 14 can be described having traces of hydrocarbon. Both TAME and MTBE were detected in most of the water samples, including from wells located far down gradient. The groundwater sink, adjacent to the pipeline running from west to east, resulted in the limited lateral spread of MBTE in this area, with limited movement towards the sea. The depth of the soil contamination varies over the sites. Based on the site  assessment  results  it  was  concluded  that  most  of  the groundwater contamination, which is a mixture of different product types, is associated with the pipeline responsible for transporting product from the jetty to the different petroleum companies.

Abstract

An understanding of the movement of moisture fluxes in the unsaturated zone of waste disposal sites play a critical role in terms of potential groundwater contamination. Increasing attention is being given to the unsaturated or vadose zone where much of the subsurface contamination originates, passes through, or can be eliminated before it contaminates surface and subsurface water resources. As the transport of contaminants is closely linked with the water flux through the unsaturated zone,  any quantitative analysis of contaminant transport must first evaluate water fluxes into and through this region. Mathematical models have often been used as critical tools for the optimal quantification of site-specific subsurface water flow and solute transport processes so as to  enable  the  implementation of management practices that minimize  both surface water  and groundwater pollution. For instance, numerical models have been used in the simulation of water and solute movement in the subsurface for a variety of applications, including the characterisation of unsaturated zone solute transport in waste disposal sites and landfills. In this study, HYDRUS 2D numerical simulation was used to simulate water and salt movement in the unsaturated zone at a dry coal ash disposal site in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The main objective of this work was to determine the flux dynamics within the unsaturated zone of the coal ash medium, so as to develop a conceptual model  that  explains  solute  transport through  the unsaturated  zone  of the coal ash medium for a period of approximately 10 year intervals. Field experiments were carried out to determine the model input parameters and the initial conditions, through the determination of average moisture content, average bulk density and the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the medium. A two-dimensional finite-element mesh of 100 m × 45 m model was used to represent cross  section  of  the  ash  dump.  Two-dimensional  time  lapse  models  showing  the  migration  of moisture fluxes and salt plumes were produced for the coal ash medium. An explanation on the variation of moisture content and cumulative fluxes in the ash dump was done with reference to pre-existing ash dump data, as well as the soil physical characteristics of the ash medium.

Abstract

The thermal springs of Swaziland and adjacent KwaZulu-Natal have, over the years, attracted attention from hydrogeologists, hydrochemists and structural geologists. While some of the springs in Swaziland are well known amenities, others are less well-visited and some difficult to access. There are eleven warm springs in Swaziland, discharging between 1 and 10 l/s from Precambrian age rocks; all are situated at or near valley bottoms. The springs have surface discharge temperatures of between 25 and 52 oC and total dissolved solids concentrations of less than 400 mg/l. In all cases the water is meteoric in origin. Geothermometry indicates that maximum temperatures up to 100 oC are achieved during circulation. If the average geothermal gradient is about 20 oC/km as recorded in a deep mine at Barberton, then this would require circulation up to a depth of several kilometres. However, it is likely that circulation bottoms at about 1 km, as pressure of overburden inhibits dilation of fractures at such depths, and the excess temperature may derive from a locally enhanced geothermal gradient. The discharge water is young, with 14C ages of between 4 000 and 5 000 years.

Abstract

The effluent at the eMalahleni water reclamation plant is being processed through reverse osmosis which improves the quality of the mine water to potable standards. Brine ponds are generally used for inland brine disposal and this option has been selected for the eMalahleni plant. Limited capacity to store the brines requires enhanced evaporation rates and increased efficiency of the ponds. This study aims to establish the physical behaviour of the brine from the eMalahleni plant in an artificial evaporation environment. This includes the actual brine and synthetic salts based on the major components.

An experimental unit was designed to accommodate and manipulate the parameters that affect the evaporation rate of brines and distilled water under certain scenarios. Two containers, the one filled with 0.5M of NaCl and the other with distilled water were subjected to the same environmental conditions in each experimental cycle. Each container had an area of a 0.25 m² and was fitted with identical sensors and datalogger to record the parameter changes. The energy input was provided by infra-red lights and wind-aided electrical fans. This equipment used in these experiments was to simulate actual physical environmental conditions. 

The rate of evaporation was expected to be a function of humidity, wind, radiation, salinity and temperature. The experiments showed the type of salt and thermo-stratification of the pond to be significant contributors to the evaporation rate. The results also showed that the NaCl solution absorbed more heat than the water system. The difference in evaporation observed was ascribed to a difference in the heat transfer rate, which resulted in a higher temperature overall in the brine container than in the water container under similar applied conditions. This effect remained despite the introduction of 2 m/s wind flow over the tanks as an additional parameter. The wind factor seemed to delay evaporation due to its chilling effect upon the upper layers of the ponds, initially hindering the effective transfer of radiative heat into the ponds.

 

Abstract

The water quality in the crystalline rocks of the Johannesburg and its environs has been severely altered by the mining activity. Due to freshwater scarcity and dependency of the people on the groundwater, it is important to understand the extent of hydrogeochemical footprint in the area. The water quality characteristic has been thoroughly assessed in the crystalline aquifers based on the input from hydrogeochemical characteristics and environmental isotopes. The results show that the calculated dilution factor for acid-mine decant is in the range of 68% as a result of interaction with surrounding fresh water. The SO4/Cl ratio has a wide range of values that falls between 0 an306.37, while that of Fe/Ca ratio falls between 0 and 5.59. High SO4/Cl values potentially indicate thinterference of acid-mine decant with the groundwater system traced through sulphate concentration. Similarly, a high Fe/Ca ratio also indicates the impact of acid-mine decant on the groundwater system where iron is traced with respect to calcium concentration. In this regard the ratios above 0,25 (with the assumption of 1 to 4 natural abundance for Fe:Ca in water in the area) could potentially represent acid-mine decant source.The results confirm that most of the water- supply wells have heterogeneous chemistry with distinctive hydrogeochemical footprint represented by abnormally high Fe, SO4 and Si as a result of acid-mine decant.

Abstract

Lake  Sibayi  (a  topographically  closed  freshwater  lake)  and  coastal  aquifers  around  the  Lake  in eastern South Africa are important water resources and are used extensively for domestic water supplies. Both the Lake and groundwater support an important and ecologically sensitive wetland system   in   the   area.   Surface   and   subsurface   geological   information,   groundwater   head, hydrochemical and environmental isotope data were analysed to develop a conceptual model of aquifer–lake interaction for further three-dimensional numerical modelling. These local geologic, groundwater head distribution, lake level, hydrochemistry and environmental isotope data confirm a direct hydraulic link between groundwater and the Lake. In the western section of the catchment, groundwater flows to the lake where groundwater head is above Lake stage, whereas along the eastern section, the presence of mixing between Lake and groundwater isotopic compositions indicated that the Lake recharges the aquifer. Stable isotope signals further revealed the movement of lake water through and below the coastal dune cordon and eventually discharges into the Indian Ocean. Quantification of the 14-year monthly water balance for the Lake shows strong seasonal variations of the water balance components. Recent increase in rate of water abstraction from the lake combined with decreasing rainfall and rapidly increasing pine plantations may result in a decrease in lake level which would have dramatic negative effects on the neighboring ecosystem and a potential seawater invasion of the coastal aquifer.

Abstract

To date, South Africa has mined approximately 3.2 billion tons of coal from a number of different coal reserves located in various parts of the country. A large number of the mines have reached the end of their productive life, resulting in numerous mine closures. With closures, groundwater levels have rebounded, resulting in decant of mine water into the environment. This paper describes a case study of a closed underground coal mine, the rebound of water levels, the evolution of the groundwater quality and the impact it has had on the management of the potential decant.

On closure of the Ermelo Mines in 1992, initial water quality monitoring indicated that a water treatment plant would be required to treat the mine decant. However, as the groundwater levels in the mine rebounded, the water quality in the mine void evolved from sulphate type water to sodium type water. The evolution of the water quality can be attributed to sulphate reducing bacteria, vertical recharge from the hanging aquifer and stratification. Water level and quality monitoring have shown that the water in the old mine void will not decant to surface due to the depth of the mine void, hydrogeological conditions, a "hanging aquifer"  and the recharge mechanisms. As a result, no water treatment will be required and the mine will not impact on the surface water. The main applications from this paper are:

  •  Design  of  a  correct  monitoring  procedure  to  allow  for  monitoring  of  water  quality stratification in rebounding mines.
  •  Identifying the role of sulphate reducing bacteria in the evolution of groundwater quality in a methane rich coal mine void.
  •  The role of a hanging aquifer in recharging of a coal mine void and resultant stratification. 
  • Designing of a mine taking into consideration mine closure.

The main contribution of this paper is the use of hydrogeological information in design of a coal mine so as not to decant on closure.

Abstract

Inadequate characterisation of petroleum release sites often leads to the design and implementation of inappropriate remedial systems, which do not achieve the required remedial objectives or are inefficient in addressing the identified risk drivers, running for lengthy periods of time with little benefit. It has been recognised that high resolution site characterisation can provide the necessary level of information to allow for appropriate solutions to be implemented. Although the initial cost of characterisation is higher, the long-term costs can be substantially reduced and the remedial benefits far greater. The authors will discuss a case study site in the Karoo, South Africa, where ERM has utilised their fractured rock toolbox approach to conduct high resolution characterisation of a petroleum release incident to inform the most practical and appropriate remedial approach. The incident occurred when a leak from a subsurface petrol line caused the release of approximately 9 000 litres of fuel into the fractured sedimentary bedrock formation beneath the site. Methods of characterisation included: 

Surface  geological  mapping  of  regionally  observed  geological  outcrops  to  determine  the structural orientation of the underlying bedding planes and jointing systems. 

A surface electrical resistivity geophysics assessment for interpretation of underlying geological and hydrogeological structures. 

Installation of groundwater monitoring wells to delineate the extent of contamination. 

Diamond core drilling to obtain rock cores from the formation for assessment of structural characteristics and the presence of hydrocarbons by means of black light fluorescence screening and hydrocarbon detection dyes. 

Down-borehole geophysical profiling to determine fracture location, fracture density, fracture dip and joint orientation. 

Down-borehole deployment of Flexible Underground Technologies (FLUTe®) liners to determine the precise vertical location of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) bearing joint systems and fracture zones, and to assist in determining the vertical extent of transmissive fractures zones.

ERM used the information obtained from the characterisation to compile a remedial action plan to identify suitable remedial strategies for mitigating the effects of the contamination and to target optimal areas of the site for pilot testing of the selected remedial methods. Following successful trials of a variety of methods for LNAPL removal, ERM selected the most appropriate and efficient technique for full-scale implementation.

Abstract

Unconventional gas mining is a new and unprecedented activity in South Africa that may pose various risks to groundwater resources. According to legal experts, South Africa does not currently have the capacity to manage this activity effectively due to various lacunae that exist in the South African legislation. The possible impacts of unconventional gas mining on groundwater, as well as governance strategies that are used in countries where unconventional gas mining is performed; have been analysed and will be discussed. Based on possible impacts and strategies to manage and protect groundwater internationally, possible governance options for the management of South Africa’s groundwater resources are proposed.

Abstract

The assessment and prediction of mine water rebound has become increasingly important for the gold mining industry in the Witwatersrand basin, South Africa. The cessation of dewatering lead to large volumes of contaminated surface discharges in the western parts of the basin. Towards the eastern extremity of the Witwatersrand basin the detached Evander Goldfield basin has been mined since the early 1950s at depths between 400 and 2000 metres below ground, while overlain by shallower coal mining operations. The hydrogeology of the Evander basin can be categorised by a shallow weathered-fractured rock aquifer comprising of the glacial and deltaic sediments of the Karoo Supergroup, while the deeper historically confined fractured bedrock aquifer consist predominantly of quartzite with subordinate lava, shale and conglomerate of the Witwatersrand Supergroup. The deep Witwatersrand aquifer has been actively been dewatered for the last 60 years with a peak rate of 60 Ml per day in the mid late 1960s. Modelling the impacts of mine dewatering and flooding on a regional scale as for the Evander basin entails challenges like the appropriate discretisation of mine voids and the accurate modelling of layered aquifer systems with different free groundwater surfaces on a regional scale. To predict the environmental impacts of both the historic and future deep mining operations, the detailed conceptual model of the aquifers systems and a 3-dimensional model of the mine voids were incorporated into a numerical groundwater model to simulate the dewatering and post-closure rebound of the water tables for the basin. The presented model could serve as an example for the successful modelling of mine dewatering and flooding scenarios for other parts of the Witwatersrand basin.

Abstract

The pollution of water resources has become a growing concern worldwide. Industrial, agricultural and domestic activities play a pivotal role in water resources pollution. The challenge faced by pollution   monitoring   networks   is   to   understand   the   spatial   and   temporal   distribution   of contaminants. In hydrology, tracers have become a critical research tool to investigate surface water and groundwater transport dynamics. Synthetic DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) tracers are being used in hydrological research to determine source areas, where uniquely labelled DNA from each source area  is  identified.  The main  objectivof the  study  was to  determine  the mass  balance of  the synthetic DNA tracer in surface water streams. Furthermore, to gain knowledge on DNA adsorption and decay and determine whether DNA behaves as conservative tracer in the surface water streams. Understanding the adsorption and decay characteristics of synthetic DNA tracers may promote its robustness in hydrological research. In this study, field injection experiments using synthetic DNA were  carried  out,  the  DNA  tracer  was  injected  together  with  sodium  chloride  (salt)  and deuterium as conservative reference tracers. The purpose was to compute DNA mass balance calculations with reference to the two conservative tracers. In this study two different DNA markers were used, namely T22 and T23. Additionally, with each injection experiment a field batch experiment was carried out to determine DNA loss characteristics on the field. From our study, the DNA loss between the injection point and the first measurement was greater than 90%. Therefore, it was important to conduct additional laboratory batch experiments to explain DNA loss characteristics. However, the issue of the initial DNA loss remained unresolved. Laboratory batch experiments results allow us to conclude the following: the type of material used, filtering, ion concentration and water composition reduced DNA concentration. Moreover, initial DNA losses occurred and not DNA decay. From our experiments we concluded that DNA can be used for long-term tracer experiments, subsequently, limiting synthetic DNA mass balance determination of synthetic DNA as it is a reactive. Overall, we can conclude that DNA does not behave as a conservative tracer.

Abstract

Work is being conducted in Limpopo province following a large volume release of petroleum hydrocarbons that took place from a leaking underground pipeline, resulting in significant groundwater contamination. This is considered to be the largest petroleum hydrocarbon release recorded to date in South Africa. The leak took place for 15 years before it was discovered 13 years ago in 2000. From the pressure tests that were performed, 10-15 ML of A-1 Jet fuel is considered to have  been  released  to  the  subsurface.  Product  bailing was  the  first method  employed  for  the recovery of the free product, and was later replaced with a P&T system which was considered to be more effective.

The village located about 6 km to the north of the spillage depends mostly on groundwater. This paper presents a progress update of works that have been conducted in support of developing a conceptual model which aims to determine the areal extent of the plume.

Abstract

The aim of this project was to establish a detailed geohydrological database and monitoring network for  the  karst  aquifer  within  the  boundaries  of  the  Vanrhynsdorp  Water  User  Association.  An adequate monitoring network is necessary for the Vanrhynsdorp Water User Association to implement sustainable water use management as well as for the Department Water Affairs to ensure its mandate as trustee of all water resources. Hydrocensus projects were conducted in phases as the project escalated from historic town supply during 1978 towards a catchment driven water user association after implementation of the new National Water Act in October 1998 (Act 36 of 1998). With the successive hydrocensuses conducted, the monitoring network also evolved in regard to area monitored, point locations, monitoring schedules and parameters measured. Hydrocensus data were captured on the National Groundwater Archive, time series data on the Hydstra database and chemical analysis on the Water Management System. Time series graphs were compiled to analyse the monitoring data and to create a conceptual model of the karst aquifer. The study showed a general decline in groundwater levels and quality in the study area. The conclusion is that the aquifer is over exploited. It is recommended that an extensive management plan is developed and implemented to ensure sustainable use of this sensitive water resource. The installation and monitoring of flow meters on all production boreholes should be seen as urgent and stipulated as such in licensing conditions. This will ensure the effective management and regulation of this valuable groundwater resource.

Abstract

Gold mining  activities over  the  past 60 years  in the Klerksdorp  goldfield produced  saline mine drainage that polluted water. Oxidation of sulphide material in tailings storage facilities, waste rock dumps and extraction plants is mobilised to 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   with   proper  water  management  by  storm  water management,  clean  dirty  water  separation,  lined  water  conveyance  structures  and  reduced deposition of water on waste facilities are 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 500 ha of woodlands as phytoremediation, interception trenches of 1 000 m, 38 interception boreholes and infrastructure to re-use this water 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 prove to be successful to intercept diffused seepage over the area of establishment and reduce  the  water  level  and  base  flow.  The  two  production  interception  well- fields  that  are 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 a 20 m depth. 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 safe use. The gold and uranium prize is securing the removal of the sources through  re-processing  of  the  tailings  and  waste  rock  dumps.  After  removaof  the  sources  of pollution,  the  remediation  schemes  would  have  to  boperated  for  2years  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

The Paleozoicage Natal Group Sandstone (NGS) that outcrops from Hlabisa (in the north) to Port Shepstone (in the south) and Greytown (west) to Stanger (east) in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is investigated in terms of its hydrogeological characteristics. This sandstone group, which comprises a lower Durban and an upper Marrianhill Formations, is a secondary/fractured aquifer system that has variable but good productivity across its members. It is characterised by variable borehole blow yields ranging from 0.2 l/s to as high as 20 l/s, with more than 50% of the boreholes having blow yield > 3 l/s. Preliminary analysis of these boreholes yields indicates that higher yielding boreholes are associated with a network of intersecting fractures and faults, and are recommended targets for future water well-siting in the area. Groundwater in the NGS is of good quality in terms of major and trace element composition and it has a total dissolved solids (TDS) composition of <450 mg/l. It was observed that the specific electrical conductivity (EC), TDS and major ions composition of groundwater within the sandstone decrease from north to south, which appears to be controlled by the geochemical composition of the aquifer material and an increase in the rate of recharge. Depth to groundwater is also found to decrease southwards because of an increase in the rate of recharge. Groundwater hydrochemical facies are generally either Na-HCO3 or Na-HCO3–Cl, and environmental isotope data (2H, 18O, Tritium) indicates that the groundwater gets recharge from modern precipitation. Furthermore, the EC increases from inland to the coastal zone, indicating maritime influences and the general direction of groundwater flow is eastwards, to the Indian Ocean.

Abstract

The increase in awareness of environmental issues and the desire for a cleaner environment by the public has caused mining companies to place greater emphasis on the continuous rehabilitation of harmful effects caused by mining operations. Ongoing rehabilitation is also a requirement of the government departments involved in mining in South Africa. The biggest concern for the relevant government departments is the possible uncontrolled pollution of water resources in the vicinity of mines, after they have closed.

In  the  compilation  of  this  paper,  the  unique  nature  of  the  South  African  situation  has  been considered – this refers to a legally acceptable approach towards current legislation and policies. This study leads to the construction of a logical approach towards mine closure, specifically to understand issues around costs and financial liability. The final product of this approach should ultimately give more clarity on:

the principles followed to identify objectives for mine closure and groundwater assessment;

key steps to follow when assessing site hydrogeology and to determine related impacts, risks, closure costs and liabilities; and

an overview of methods that could be used for the mitigation of polluted aquifers and a brief site-specific application.

Abstract

Vapour intrusion (VI) is the term used to define the encroachment of vapour phase contaminants from subsurface sources into structures such as buildings and basements. It is widely recognised that VI often forms the principal risk of exposure to receptors at petroleum release sites. Petroleum VI (PVI) generally occurs where a release of petroleum hydrocarbon product migrates from its source (for example, from a leaking underground storage tank) to the groundwater table at which point, given favourable conditions, the hydrocarbon plume may migrate laterally beneath an adjacent building or structure. Subsequent volatilisation of the petroleum product results in the upward diffusion of vapours towards the surface where the vapours may enter into the building or structure at concentrations which may be harmful to human health. The subject of PVI with regards to its fate and transport mechanisms, as well as associated mitigation measures, is rapidly gaining attention on a global scale, although to date this exposure pathway remains largely unassessed in South Africa, with no regulatory guidance currently available. In the late 1990s and early 2000s focus was placed on the development of VI screening criteria by which sites could be screened with respect to their hydrogeological conditions and contamination status so as to determine whether VI may be a potential exposure pathway of concern, with much of the early work being completed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. For the past decade the majority of the available screening criteria  and  guidance  has  not,  or  has  only  partially  accounted  for  biodegradation  processes associated with VI, which has led to doubt over the application of such screening criteria in many cases. Furthermore, recent research conducted abroad has highlighted the importance of the role of oxygen in the vadose zone in the natural attenuation of petroleum hydrocarbon vapours as they diffuse through the soil profile. This research is pointing towards the notion that currently applied screening criteria may be overly conservative when applied to petroleum impacted sites, leading to many  unnecessary  PVI  investigations  being  conducted  to  the  disruptioof  occupants  of  the buildings, and at great cost. Over the last two years ERM has compiled a dataset of PVI results from numerous investigations it has conducted throughout Southern Africa and in this paper the authors present data that supports the growing global trend towards recognising the role that oxygen plays in attenuating petroleum hydrocarbon vapours in the vadose zone. The data also support the notion that confirmed cases of PVI into buildings have generally been found to be the exception to the rule and not the norm.

Abstract

POSTER The Evander Goldfield basin has been mined since the early 1950s at depths between 400 and 2 000 m below ground and is detached from the larger Witwatersrand basin. The assessment and prediction of mine water rebound has become increasingly important for the gold mining industry in the Witwatersrand basin as more mine shafts mothballs and dewatering ceases. The development of a  3-D  mine  void  model  is  crucial  in  predicting  the  rate  of  flooding  as  the  prediction  of  the groundwater rebound is primarily driven by the volumes of mine voids along with the amount of recharge. All available mine plan data for the Evander Gold Mine (EGM) were obtained digitally from Harmony Gold. However, the majority of the old mine workings (e.g. Leslie and Winkelhaak) were available  as  2-D  data  and  elevations  of  the  mine  developments  (stopes  and  drives)  had  to  be captured from hardcopy plans. Data from the more recent mining operations (e.g. Shaft 6), including updated survey and mine plan data, were directly used for the development of the 3-D void model. The calculated mine void volume, based on the EGM operations mine plan data, is approximately 80 518 045 m3. The mine void calculations were checked against the total tons of rock milled by the EGM operations since the late 1950s and was considered valid estimations of the EGM mine void volume. The validated EGM 3-D mine workings plan was subsequently used to determine the stage- volume relationships. The 3-D mine void model established, will then be incorporated into a regional numerical groundwater flow model to be calibrated against observed abstractions and water levels and utilised to predict future dewatering rates.

Abstract

The occurrence of groundwater around a mined-out open pit, connected to an active underground working is not completely understood, but it is fascinating. It has been established that gold mineralisation in study area was structurally controlled. The geomorphology of the local drainage system is highly controlled by the fold or fault architecture. Surface water flowed through, and eroded open fractures in exposed damaged zones (zone of subsidiary structures surrounding a fault). Previous  conceptual  hydrogeological models  of  groundwater  system  suggested  is  a  two-aquifer system, consisting of a fractured aquifer overlain by a weathered aquifer, where groundwater flow mimics surface topography. Based on recent drilling and reassessment of historic geological and hydrogeological data, the groundwater system around the mine could not only be described in terms of an elevation or stratigraphic units, as traditional aquifers are. The weight of the study was placed on accurately understanding the groundwater system in the deposit area by using structural hydrogeology as a best tool in the hydrogeological tool box. From a hydraulic head point of view, in addition to the weathered groundwater system, there are as many bedrock aquifers and aquitards as there are major structures in the pit area.

Abstract

Many aquifer systems worldwide are subject to hydrochemical and biogeochemical reactions involving iron, which limit the sustainability of groundwater schemes. This mainly manifests itself in clogging of the screen and immediate aquifer with iron oxyhydroxides resulting in loss of production capacity. Clogging is caused by chemical precipitation and biofouling processes which also manifests in South African well-fields such as in Atlantis and the Klein Karoo. Both well-fields have the potential to provide a sufficient, good quality water supply to rural communities; however, clogging of the production boreholes has threatened the sustainability of the schemes as quality and quantity of water is affected. Rehabilitation of the affected boreholes using techniques such as the Blended Chemical Heat Treatment method does not provide a long-term solution. Such treatments are costly with varying restoration of original yields achieved and clogging recurs with time. Currently the research,  management  and  treatment  options  in  South  Africa  have  focused  on  the  clogging processes which are complex and site-specific, making it extremely difficult to treat and rectify. This project attempts to eliminate elevated concentrations of dissolved iron, the cause of the clogging. High iron concentrations in groundwater are associated with reducing conditions in the aquifer allowing for the dissolution of iron from the aquifer matrix. These conditions can be natural or human-induced. Attempts to circumvent iron clogging of boreholes have focussed on increasing the redox potential in the aquifer, by injection of oxygen-rich water into the system, to prevent dissolution and to facilitate fixation of iron in the aquifer matrix. Various in situ treatment systems have  been  implemented  successfully  overseas  for  some  time.  In  South  Africa  thus  far  in  situ treatment of iron has only been proposed as a solution for production borehole clogging. Based on experience from abroad the most viable option to research the elimination of ferrous iron in South African aquifer systems would be through the in situ iron removal treatment. Different techniques of increasing the dissolved oxygen concentration in the injected water to intensifying the redox change in the aquifer can be applied; however, the use of ozone as the oxidant is a new approach. Its effectiveness is evaluated by the results in iron removal in surface water treatment for drinking water supply.

Abstract

This study examined the effective use of the hydrogeologic conceptual model (HCM) to implement the integrated water resource management (IWRM) approach. While research focuses on using hydrogeologic models  in  groundwater  for  planning,  few  studies  show  how  to  use  HCM  for  a successful IWRM approach, especially in  resource  poor  catchments.  This  is  largely  due  to  t he lack of adequate data to showcase such models. Despite the lack of numerical groundwater data, the HCM was used in this study and it provided the scientific and visual presentation of key issues for practical understanding by stakeholders. For the first time, HCM provided a  practical understanding of t he  groundwater system in the Limphasa River catchment. By using HCM and physical factors qualitatively, the study revealed that, apart from storage, abstraction mechanisms significantly contributes to regional initiatives of groundwater supply whose central objective is to utilise and manage such water sustainably. The model is based on the relationship between groundwater availability  and  its  related  hydrogeologic factors.  Findings suggest improvement  in quantifying the studied parameters through field experiments to provide a better estimation on storage and abstraction of groundwater in relation to impacts of a future changing climate. Since using HCM has shown practical usage, replicating it in catchments with similar physical and socioeconomic environments, would be desirable as refining the model progresses.

Abstract

South Africa currently ranks number nine in the world of the proved coal reserves that has been estimated to last for over 200 years. Coal constitutes about 77% of the primary energy needs in the country, with the Waterberg Coalfield estimated to host about 40% of the remaining South African coal resources. Coal deposits in the study area largely consist of shales, mudstones, siltstones and sandstones which host coal-containing clay minerals; quartz, carbonates, sulphides and the most abundant sulphide mineral is pyrite. Once mining begins, the sulphide minerals are exposed to surface which allows contact with atmospheric oxygen and water causes oxidation to take place, therefore causing acid-mine drainage (AMD). Acid-base accounting (ABA) was used to determine the balance between the acid-producing potential (AP) and acid-neutralising potential (NP). From the analysis the Net Neutralising Potential (NP-AP) was determined, which is one of the measurements used to classify a sample as potentially acid or non-acid-producing. Mineralogical analyses will be done by x-ray defraction (XRD) to define and quantify the mineralogy of the geological samples which can help in the management plan to minimise generation of acid. AMD does not only result in thgeneration of acid, but as well as in decreased pH values and increased values of specific conductance, metals, acidity, sulphate, and dissolved and suspended solids. Inductively coupled plasma analysis was done to determine the release of the heavy metals which can be detrimental to the environment. Sample analysis was done on the interburden, overburden as well as the coal samples. From results obtained, over 35% to 50% of the samples have an excess of acid potential which classifies the samples as having a higher risk for acid generation. About 30% to 40% of the samples have a higher neutralising potential; the rest of the samples have a medium acid risk generation. The water demand will increase as developments continue in the  area, with inter- catchment transfers identified as the answer to fill the gap of water scarcity. Acid mine drainage poses a big threat on water resources, both groundwater and surface water nationally, which might be less of a problem in the Waterberg because of the cycle of low rainfall in the area, but the potential of AMD cannot be neglected.

Abstract

A multi-data integration approach was used to assess groundwater potential in the Naledi Local Municipality located in the North West Province of South Africa. The geology comprised Archaean crystalline basement, carbonate rocks (dolomite and limestone) and windblown sand deposits of the Kalahari Group. The main objective of the study is to evaluate the groundwater resource potential using multi-data integration and environmental isotope approaches. Prior to data integration, weighting coefficients were computed using principal component analysis.

The results of integration of six layers revealed a number of groundwater potential zones. The most significant zone covers ~14% of the study area and is located within carbonate rocks in the southern part of the study area. The localisation of high groundwater potential within carbonate rocks is consistent with the results of principal component analysis that suggests that lithology significantly contributed to the total data variance corresponding to principal component 1. In other words, carbonate rocks consisting of dolomite and limestone largely account for groundwater occurrence in the southern part of the area. In addition, the relatively elevated isotopic signature of tritium (≥1.0 TU)  in  groundwater  samples  located  in  the  southern  part  of  the  area  suggests  a  groundwater recharge   zone.   Furthermore,   moderate-to-good   groundwater   potential   zones   within   the Ventersdorp lava coincide with maximum concentration of fractures, which is consistent with the results of statistical correlation between borehole yield and lineament density. The multi-data integration approach and statistical correlation used in the context of evaluating groundwater resource potential of the area provided a conceptual understanding of hydrogeological parameters that control the development of groundwater in crystalline and carbonate rocks. Such approach is crucial in light of the increasing demand for groundwater arising from municipal water supply and agricultural use. The two approaches are very effective and can be used as a sound scientific basis for understanding groundwater occurrence elsewhere in similar hydrogeological environments.

Abstract

Edible vegetable oil (EVO) substrates have been successfully used to stimulate the in situ anaerobic biodegradation of groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents, as well as numerous other anaerobically biodegradable contaminants like nitrates and perchlorates at many commercial, industrial and military sites throughout the world. 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 favourable environment for the anaerobic microbial communities to degrade specific contaminants of concern. EVO substrates 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 has 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 gives an overview of  the  EVO  technology  and  its  application,  specifically  looking  at  the  advantages  of  using  this relatively inexpensive, environmentally-friendly based technology to remediate contaminated groundwater within fractured rock environments commonly encountered in South Africa.

Abstract

The benefits of numerical groundwater modelling in resource management and scenario-testing are well known; it provides quantitative predictions of aquifer responses to stresses not yet experienced, albeit with uncertainties. Modelling is hence a widely used tool in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), in which prior to project commencing, the likely impacts must be assessed quantitatively to determine their significance. Based on these results mitigation measures can be proposed such that the residual impact is deemed acceptable.

At the stage of an EIA there is often very little data on which to base a model. Generally one is required to predict timescales in the order of hundreds of years with only very short-term time series data, and required to predict the response to stresses far beyond those used in the calibration. The very nature of the problems posed at EIA stage therefore render the accuracy of most modelling conducted at EIA phase severely limited. Recognising this, an appropriate model for the problems at hand can still be constructed and provide useful results.

The model results need to  be seen  as  the first phase  in  an  adaptive management cycle, rather than  a standalone prediction which a mine can use for future operation. To strengthen the resulting predictions, the cycle in which monitoring results are used to update the model, and thus update predictions and update future requirements for monitoring repeating the cycle, needs to be entrenched into the mine phases by ensuring the recommendation as detailed in the Environmental Management Plan. Thus, what started as a useful demonstrative tool, but with large uncertainties, becomes an accurate quantitative prediction tool for operation, closure and post-closure planning.

This paper outlines a case study of a proposed open-pit zinc mine on an inselberg in South Africa, within which these themes are explored. Limited initial data was sufficient to build a useful yet simplified model. The purpose and known limitations of the model approach dictated the spatial discretisation of the model, its dimensions, and the geometry of the aquifer units, yet the simplification of the aquifer systems into the numerical model was only feasible once the complexity of the aquifer systems had been recognised, else over- or unjustified simplification is a risk.

The paper concludes with a framework for integrating the adaptive groundwater management into the mine life cycle through applying appropriate models at each phase, which would strengthen the use of groundwater models in mining.

Abstract

Historically groundwater exploration consisted of reconnaissance geophysical surveys followed by detail ground surveys. Where no potentially water-bearing geological structures are shown on geological maps and aerial photos, the project area would be divided into a grid on which the ground geophysical survey would be done. This type of exploration is time-consuming and expensive. In some cases the terrain or cultural noise prohibits the use of conventional geophysical methods, with only more expensive and time-consuming methods being left as an option. This is where the high resolution airborne magnetic survey excels. The results obtained from this type of survey are of such a nature that ground geophysical surveys are only performed where potential drilling targets were identified  from  the  aerial  survey.  Not  only  can  there  be  cost-  and  time-savings  on  ground geophysical surveys, but drilling of dry boreholes can be limited, which makes up the largest cost component of a groundwater exploration project. This paper will discuss successes achieved using high resolution aeromagnetic surveys as the basis for groundwater exploration in traditionally low- yielding igneous geology.

Abstract

Groundwater in South Africa is an essential source of potable water for rural communities, farms and towns. Semi-arid conditions of South Africa, a growing population and surface water resources almost entirely being exploited to their limits, increase  the demand for groundwater resources. Therefore,  the  relation  between  the  geology  and  geohydrology  of  South  Africa  becomes  an important tool in locating groundwater resources that can provide sustainable quantities of water for South Africans. A document was therefore compiled, providing valuable geohydrological information  on  the  geological  formations  of  the  whole  of  South  Africa.  The  information  was gathered by means of interviews with experienced South African geohydrologists and reviewing of reports and articles of geohydrological studies. The geohydrological characteristics discussed include rock/aquifer parameters and behaviour, aquifer types (primary of secondary), groundwater quality, borehole yields and expected striking depths, and geological target features and the geophysical method  used  to  locate  these  targets.  Due  to  the  fact  that  90%  of  South  Africa’s  aquifers  are classified as secondary aquifer systems, groundwater occurrence within the rocks of South Africa is mainly controlled by secondary fractured systems; therefore, understanding the geology and geological processes (faulting, folding, intrusive dyke/sills and weathering) responsible for their development and how they relate, is important. However, the primary aquifers of South Africa (Coastal Cenozoic Deposits) should not be neglected as these aquifers can produce significant amounts of groundwater. Drilling success rates and possibility of striking higher yielding boreholes can be improved dramatically when an evaluation of the structural geology and geohydrological conditions of an area together with a suitable geophysical method is applied. The ability to locate groundwater has been originally considered (even today) a heavenly gift and can be dated back to the Biblical story of Moses striking the rock to get water: “behold, I will stand there before thee there upon the rocks thou shalt smite the rock and there shall come water out of it” (Exodus 17:6).

Abstract

Most of the 14 651 km2 Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is on monotonous Aeolian sands of the Kalahari Basin, with endorheic drainage. The large game populations of the park are sustained by seasonal accumulations of water in grassy pan depressions and year-round supply of groundwater to pans (except in the northwest where there are rivers and dams). Some of this is from natural seeps, such as at the Shakwanki, Nehimba and Ngweshla Pans, but most are supplied from boreholes. Game animals show clear preferences for some pans over others and it has long been speculated by wildlife managers that there is a nutritional or taste basis for this discrimination. In this preliminary study, the location, host geology and sub-Kalahari lithologies of the pans are compared with the frequency of use by game animals. Results show that the pans that are most frequented by game are hosted in fossil drainage channels, with limestone horizons (calcrete) developed within the Kalahari Sands. Many popular pans are also found on Kalahari Sand overlying the granitic rocks and the meta- sedimentary Malaputese Formation of the Kamativi–Dete Inlier. This can be related to sodium and potassium enrichment.

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

For the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to better leverage the wealth of information being collected by various “silo” operational source water information systems, a high-priority initiative was launched to establish a National Integrated Water Information System (NIWIS), which currently consists of over 40 web-accessible dashboards including groundwater related dashboards mostly accessible to the public. Dispersed and disintegrated data and information stored in different sources and formats would hinder decision support in the water sector and deter improvement in service delivery by the DWS. The DWS undertook an extensive and rigorous business requirements analysis exercise within the DWS to ensure that the proposed system does not become a white elephant and facilitate the prioritization of system deliverables. A prototype (waterfall) approach was adopted to develop the NIWIS to ensure the development was still within the suggested business requirements. NIWIS has enabled mostly DWS managers to establish one trusted source of decision-making information for timeous, effective and efficient responses to service delivery. The number of NIWIS dashboards continues to grow as improved data-related business processes are adopted. The unavailability of reliable data from DWS data sources and the exclusion of business requirements from organizations external to DWS were identified as the main challenges to NIWIS disseminating comprehensive, credible information. Therefore, this paper aims to provide some details of the geohydrological information that NIWIS provides and seek feedback from this International Hydrogeologists community for further development of NIWIS.

Abstract

The Namibian uranium province, located in the Namib Desert, derives its name from the local presence of almost ten uranium tenements. The mines conduct monitoring of natural radionuclide concentrations of Ra226, Ra228, Pb210, U234, U238, Th232 and Po210 in local aquifers. This data is useful in mine rehabilitation and developing closure criteria, as only radiation doses additional to natural doses are usually considered ‘controllable’ for radiation protection purposes. An accredited laboratory analyzed the baseline data collected through quarterly groundwater sampling with submersible pumps. The uranium deposits are hosted in Damara age granites or as secondary mineralization in Tertiary calcareous paleochannels. The analysis of the long-term baseline data provides the background radionuclide concentrations of three aquifer types in the province, i.e., the Quaternary saturated alluvium of the Khan and Swakop ephemeral Rivers, the Tertiary paleochannel sediments, and Proterozoic basement aquifers. The ephemeral rivers are important because they supply groundwater downstream of the mines for agricultural use. The analysis demonstrated that the alluvial aquifers have the lowest natural radionuclide content, with the U234 concentrations ranging between 0.03 and 3.4 Bq/l, while paleochannel and basement aquifers show intermittent U234 concentrations ranging between 0.25 and 5.1 Bq/l. The groundwater in the immediate ore zones shows the highest U234 concentrations, ranging between 44.8 and 86.3 Bq/l, exceedingly higher than the WHO standards of 1 Bq/l. This study illuminates that radioactivity is a natural phenomenon and that groundwater baseline data is paramount to groundwater protection.