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DEPTHWISE WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN


PIT LAKES: A CASE STUDY OF MANIKPUR PILOT
QUARRY, SOUTH...

Conference Paper November 2012

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Coal India Limited Coal India Limited
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DEPTHWISE WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN PIT


LAKES: A CASE STUDY OF MANIKPUR PILOT QUARRY,
SOUTH EASTERN COALFIELDS LIMITED, INDIA
V G Pratapan1, Dr. Anurag Tiwari2, Tathagata Chakraborty3, Rambabu Singh3 and Salim Khan4
1
General Manager (Mining), 2Manager (Environment), 3Assistant Manager (Hydrogeology), 4Junior
Scientific Assistant
Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Ltd, Regional Institute-V, Bilaspur-495006, Chhattisgarh

ABSTRACT

Water Resource is depleting and deteriorating day by day due to


anthropogenic activity. As per the Ministry of Water Resource, in India the
present groundwater recharge in every year due to precipitation (1123 B.
Cum) is marginally balancing the present groundwater consumption but it is
insufficient to overcome the future demand (1180 B. Cum by 2050). Hence, to
mitigate future envisaged water scarcity an alternative water source is
essential and one of the potential option is conversion of abandoned mine
voids into Pit Lakes as a sustainable water reservoirs. The issue of depth of
abandoned mine converted to Pit Lakes have been under discussion at
different forums. MOEF has suggested to restrict final mine void to 35-45m
depth since beyond that the quality of the water is not feasible for existence of
aquatic life. However, according to MOC the depth of the Pit Lakes should not
be restricted because it acts as a potential recharge source for depleted
aquifers. Hence, to understand the sustainability and feasibility of the Pit
Lakes, depth wise quality assessment study has been carried out in Manikpur
pilot quarry, which is one of the oldest abandoned mine pit (abandoned since
1976) in the SECL command area. Depth wise water samples were collected
at an interval of 5m each, till the depth of 25m within the pit lake and the
Dissolve Oxygen (DO), pH, TDS and Temperature were measured
instantaneously in field itself and laboratory analysis of the remaining
parameters have been carried out. The data reveals that DO values fall at
sluggish rate upto the depth of 15m and beyond which considerable decrease
in values have been observed. The changes in the other parameters are
marginal and the overall quality parameters upto 25m depth is well within the
permissible limits and showing no significant impact on aquatic ecological
system.

Keywords: Water Resource, Pit Lake, Depthwise water quality, Aquatic


Ecological Syatem

1.0 INTRODUCTION
As per the Ministry of Water Resource, in India the present groundwater recharge in every year due to
precipitation is 1123 B. Cum, whereas the present water demand is 1122 B. Cum. Hence, the contemporary
ground water recharge is marginally balancing the present groundwater consumption but it is insufficient to
overcome the future demand which is 1180 B. Cum by 2050.

Hence, to balance the predicted water scarcity in near future an alternative water source is required and one
of the potential option is conversion of abandoned mine voids into Pit Lakes as a sustainable water reservoirs.

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While mining of any resource we use to offshoot water also as a consequence for smooth mining.
Unnoticeably this water resource acting as a prime source to accomplish the water crisis in and around the
mine command areas. The best instance regarding the utilization of discharged mine water is: mine water is
the major source (around 68%) for domestic and industrial water use in coal mining areas of South Eastern
Coalfields Limited (SECL), India.

So among all, coal mining activity is highly eco-friendly to fulfill the both nations energy demand and water
stipulation of the nearby areas. In addition to that, after termination of the mining activity in opencast quarry
the abandoned pits act as a huge water reservoir and potential recharge source to the local ground water
regime. Unfortunately in India so far no study has been carried out in connection with the sustainability and
productivity of this abandoned pit lakes to mitigate the water demand of the Nation.

Moreover, the fate of the residual mine voids is under discussion in different forums. Such as, according to the
Ministry of Environment and Forest, India, beyond 35m the quality of the water is not feasible for sustaining
any aquatic life. Hence, they are suggesting to restrict the depth of these water bodies within 35-45m from
surface by re-handling of over burden (OB) dumps. However, MOC suggested that, the depth of the Pit Lakes
should not be restricted because filling of mine voids at the end of the mining activity by re-handling the
settled and biologically reclaimed OB dumps is not economically feasible and also not environment friendly.
Furthermore the residual pits act as a potential recharge source for water depleted aquifers and will help to
conquer the huge shortfall of water in future.

Hence in view of all these, a study on depth wise variation in water quality has been carried out in one of the
oldest coal mine pit lake in South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), India to assess its suitability for
sustaining aquatic life and feasibility for domestic utilization.

2.0 PIT LAKE FORMATION


Open cast mining operations have become common practice over the last few decades in India, as a method
of extracting commercially useful ore found near the surface. Since backfilling of the entire mined out area is
not practically feasible, hence, after completion of extraction operations an open pit is left as residual void.
This is called a mine void.

After mine operations are discontinued and dewatering ceases, most of those pits that extend below the
natural groundwater table, used to be filled up by inflow of groundwater, direct rainfall, and runoff from
adjacent drainage basins and the void catchment. Natural filling may take many years to complete. Therefore,
to reduce the oxidation of mining waste and wall rocks, to inhibit the activity of acidophilic sulphur-oxidizing
bacteria, and to promote anoxic conditions at the lake bottoms which may minimize the formation of acids and
dissolved metals, some pit lakes are rapidly filled with stream or river diversions (Dr. Mike Muller et al., 2010).

The water qualities in such pit lakes depend on the source water and the associated geological catchments
and hence are highly variable. The water level may continue to fluctuate to maintain its equilibrium with the
changes in the climate and local groundwater levels. In the event of high evaporation, low rainfall and small
groundwater inflows, the TDS of lake water would increase with time. (Subba Rao and R N Biswas, 2011)

Thus, the left out voids, with the natural inflow of groundwater or flooding with surface water, are converted
into Pit Lakes. The size of mine voids usually varies from borrow pits (100m dia.) to the enormous pits. A
generalized water balance of lakes are exemplified in Fig.1

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Fig.1 Generalized water balance of lakes: P = precipitation, E = evaporation, R = surface runoff, Gi =


ground water in and Go = ground water out.(after P.W.JEWELL, 2009)

3.0 PITLAKE CHARACTERISTICS

In general, Pit lakes differ physically from natural lakes by percent relative depth (Zrel), which is
defined as the ratio of the maximal depth of a lake (Zmax) to the mean diameter of the lake surface
(A) (Wetzel 2001):

A typical natural lake has a relative depth of less than 2%, although some may exceed 5%. Pit lakes
commonly have relative depths between 10 and 40% (Doyle & Davies, 1999). Because of this, pit
lakes easily stratify with the consequential changes in chemical characteristics with depth. Total
dissolved solids and electrolytic conductivity tend to increase with depth.

Because of the change in the temperature in different depth of a lake, thermal stratification of the
lake water takes place. The top stratum of the lake is called Epilimnion and the bottom part of the
lake is called hypolimnion.

The dissolved oxygen concentrations in the epilimnion part is suitable for existence of the aqualife
whereas the hypolimnion part has the tendency to contain low dissolved oxygen concentrations in
case of high oxygen demand (chemical and/or biochemical). The existence of a sub-oxic or anoxic
(no oxygen) layer in a pit lake can have significant effects on the lakes chemical and biological
characteristics and thus on its potential for remediation.

3.1 MANIKPUR PIT LAKE

Manikpur OC is one of the important opencast coal mine in SECL. It is located in Korba district, Chhattisgarh,
India. The mine is under operation and some part of the mine has been abandoned since 1976. The

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abandoned mine is known as Manikpur Pilot Quarry. The details of the abandoned pilot quarry are given in
Table.1 and Fig.2 illustrates the aerial photograph of the Manikpur Pilot Quarry.

Table 1. Geography and morphology of the Manikpur Pilot Quarry

Properties Details

Latitude 222013.74 N

Longitude 82439.48 E

Elevation, m (RL) 283

Area, Ha 19.43

Volume (approx) 11.19 M. Cum

Maximum Depth, m 64

Maximum Depth of water in quarry, m 48

Volume of water stored (approx), 9.30 M.Cum.

Relative Depth, % 2.54

Fig 2: The aerial photograph of the Manikpur Pilot Quarry and Manikpur OC. (Image courtesy: Google
Earth)

The above pit lake has huge potential of water and this can resolve the enormous water demand prevails in
the adjoining area. Hence, the project authorities have proposed to use the water of the abandoned pilot
quarry for domestic purpose after proper filtration/ treatment.

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4.0 INSTRUMENTATION AND WORKING PRINCIPAL

The Instrument used in the present study is completely indigenous and fashioned by Hydrogeology
Department, in collaboration with Environment Department, RI-V, CMPDIL, Bilaspur (Coal India Linited). The
instrument is highly convenient, unsophisticative and able to collect the water sample from any water body/ pit
at any desired depth without any contamination of the sample.

The instrument mainly consists of the following parts: a sample container; a valve system that allows/ prevent
water inflow within the container when desired; a wire sytem with length demarcations and a protective cover.

i. The sample container: It is made of a glass bottle which can contain water upto 300 ml.

ii. The valve system: It contains a glass made cap of the sample container. A spring is attached on the
top portion of the cap. The spring aided cap is then attached to a thread in such a manner that pulling of
the tread facilitates the sample collection and release of the pulled thread causes capping of the bottle
due to attached spring. The thread can be operated from the surface. Thus by pulling the thread the
mouth of the bottle opens and allows water to enter into it and after relaxing the thread the mouth
become closed and prevent the inflow of the water within the sample container bottle.

iii. The wire system: The entire instrument can be lowered to desirable depth with the help of a wire,
which is connected to the circumference of the instrument by three chains. Demarcations of the length
(in meter scale) has been made on the wire to understand the depth of the instrument at which sample
to be collected from the surface water level of the mine pit.

iv. A protective cover: The sample container and the valve system is surrounded by a protective cover
made up of iron. The cover has number of slits which allow the water to enter within the cover and
finally when required within the sample container with the help of the valve system. A heavy weight also
has been attached at the bottom of the cover for lowering the instrument easily within the water.

The schematic diagram of the instrument has been shown in Fig. 3.

Fig 3: Schematic diagram of the water sample collector instrument

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5.0 EXPLORATORY WORK

The instrument and technical team was carried to the deepest point of pit with the help of a boat, then the
instrument was lowered and the depth wise water samples were collected at an interval of 5m each, upto the
depth of 25m within the pit lake and the Dissolve Oxygen (DO), pH, TDS and Temperature were measured
instantaneously in field itself and remaining parameters have been assessed at laboratory. A conceptual
figure of the methodology has been provided in Fig. 4.

Fig 4: A conceptual model to visualize the methodology used for collection of the water samples in the
mine pit

6.0 LAB ANALYSIS


After completion of the sample collection from field, samples were sent to Environment Lab, RI-V, CMPDIL,
Bilaspur for assessing different quality parameters. The methods and instruments utilized for the quality
analysis have been tabulated in Table 2.

Table 2: Evaluation of Quality Parameters

Method of
Sl. No Parameters
Assessment

Atomic Absorption
Heavy Metals (Fe, Cu, Mn, Se, As,
1 Spectrophotometer
Pb, Zn & Hexavalent Chromium) etc.
(ASS)

Colour, Turbidity, Fluoride, Nitrate,


2 Spectrophotometer
Boron, Sulphate, Phenolics etc.

Alkalinity as CaCO3, Total Hardness,


3 Titration Method
Chlorides and Calcium etc.

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7.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The quality parameters such as temperature, Total Dissolve Solid, pH and Dissolved Oxygen values have
been observed during the analysis of the water sample in the field are furnished in Table 3 and Plots 1 to 4

Table 3: Parameters analyzed in the field


Sample No. Depth, m T, C TDS, mg/l pH DO, mg/l
MPQ 1 5 28.8 330 7.43 6.85
MPQ 2 10 27.8 346 7.33 6.43
MPQ 3 15 26.9 362 7.09 5.74
MPQ 4 20 27.9 368 7.80 5.40
MPQ 5 25 27.5 381 7.60 4.85
Desirable Limit > 7C 500 6.5 - 8.5 > 4.5

The data reveals that all the above mentioned parameters are decreasing with depth. Only the TDS value is
showing an incremental trend with depth. In all the plots of the above mentioned parameters, a drastic change
from the normal rate of change of the data has been noticed at the depth of 20m. Incase of the TDS and DO
plots (Plot 1 and 2) the change is not decipherable clearly but in case of the pH and the temperature plots
(Plot 3 and 4) a major deflection in the parameters has been observed for the mentioned depth. This

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deflection may be resulted because of the ground water inflow within the pitlake from any adjoing aquifer at
the level of 15 to 20m depth.

The water quality parameters analyzed within the laboratory are incorporated in Table 4 to 6.

All the parameters are In mg/l

Table 4: Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (ASS)

Depth Iron Copper Manganese Zinc Hexavalent Chromium

5 0.108 0.049 0.052 0.043 BDL


10 0.103 0.057 0.073 0.043 BDL
15 0.107 0.043 0.132 0.042 BDL
20 0.115 0.046 0.049 0.031 BDL
25 0.106 0.043 0.046 0.029 BDL
IS:10500 Desirable Limit 0.3 0.05 0.1 0.027 0.05
Below Detection Limit < 0.05 < 0.02 < 0.05 <0.005 <0.01

All the parameters are In mg/l unless specified

Table 5: Spectrophotometer

Depth Colour, Hazen Turbidity, NTU Sulphate Nitrate Fluoride

5 10 14 29 11.28 0.37
10 11 14 30 10.63 0.34
15 16 19 28 12.85 0.54
20 12 15 30 9.3 0.85
25 12 11 27 9.60 0.81
IS:10500 Desirable Limit 5 5 200 45 1.0
Below Detection Limit < 1.0 Hazen < 1.0 NTU < 1.0 <0.01 <0.01

All the parameters are In mg/l

Table 6: Titration methods

Depth Alkalinity as CaCO3 Total Hardness as CaCO3 Chlorides Calcium

5 82 94 34 25.6
10 80 92 34 24
15 100 112 32 27.2
20 88 104 36 30.4
25 83 92 33 26.8
IS:10500 Desirable Limit 200 300 250 75
Below Detection Limit < 0.5 < 0.5 < 0.25 < 0.02

The changes in the quality parameters, analyzed in the laboratory with depth are marginal and the overall
quality parameters upto 25m depth is well within the permissible limits of the drinking water quality. Hence, the
water can be utilised for domestic and industrial purpose and may not have any significant impact on aquatic
ecological system.

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8.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Mine water resource acting as a prime source to mitigate the water crisis in and around the mine command
areas. After completion of coal mining, the residual pit developed in large-scale opencast coal mine acts as a
potential ground water recharge structure as well as a huge reservoir which holds enormous quantum of
water.

Hence, to mitigate future envisaged water scarcity an alternative water source is essential and one of the
potential option is conversion of abandoned mine voids into Pit Lakes as a sustainable water reservoirs.

For instance, in Korba Coalfield area, SECL, by converting the terminal voids of largest opencast mines into
pit lakes, a string of water reservoirs with a total holding capacity of 1.845 BCM can be developed. (Subba
Rao and R N Biswas, 2011)

The results of the present study, performed in Manipur Pilot Quarry, reveal that the quality of the water upto
the depth of study i.e. 25m is maintaining well within the stipulated drinking water standards and the change of
the water quality parameters with depth are marginal. Hence, the water is suitable for maintaining a proper
aquatic ecological system and also worthy for domestic and industrial use. The water quality is also influenced
by the ground water inflow taking place within the pits.

It also perceives that, these left out voids have huge potentiality to improve the ground water scenario by
escalating the ground water recharge in the effected aquifers. Thus, by modifying the residual mine voids into
pit lakes the depleted aquifer systems can be rejuvenated and the prevailing hydrogeological regime can be
improved.

Any adversity in the quality parameters beyond 25m can be controlled by fast flooding of the residual pits with
surface water. Thus the mine voids can be converted into pit lakes gainfully.

9.0 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors expresses sincere thanks to Shri A.K.Debnath, CMD, CMPDIL, for according permission to
present this paper. The authors are thankful to Shri Binay Dayal, RD, RI-V, CMPDIL, Bilaspur, Shri Naeem
Ahmed, GM (Exploration), Shri Prabhat Shankar, HOD (Expl.), RI-V and Shri Prabhu Prasad, HOD
(Hydrogeology), CMPDIL, Ranchi. for their valuable guidance and encouragement. The authors are grateful to
the Manikpur mine authorities for their support during the field visit. The authors are also thankful to Shri
Tikendrajit Doley, MT (Hydrogeology), Ankur Kumar, Assistant Manager (Env) and all active members of
Environment Lab, RI-V, CMPDIL, Bilaspur for their cooperation. The views expressed in this paper are of the
authors only and not necessarily of the organization to which they belong.

REFERENCES

1. Doyle G A, Runnells D D., 1997, Physical limnology of existing mine pit lakes, Mine Eng. 49:76-80.

2. Muller M. et al., June 2010, Mine Voids Management Strategy (V): Water Quality Modeling of Collie
Basin Pit Lakes, Mine Water and Environment Research/Centre for Ecosystem Management, Report No.
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3. Johnson S. L. and Wright A. H., 2003, Mine void water resource issues in western Australia, Water and
Rivers Commission, Western Australia, Report No. - HG9.

4. Jones D., 1997.Water quality and quantity in final voids Australian Coal Review, pp. 43-45.

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5. Subba Rao D.V. and Biswas R. N., 2011, Conversion of mine voids into pit lakes- a beneficial use in coal
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7. Rodney t. Lentz., 2002, Physical limnology and geochemistry of two circum- neutral ph mine pit lakes
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