redOrbit posts information about the advances scientists have made towards shielding groundwater from mining, industrial and domestic waste, all of which can contaminate the water for decades, rendering it unusable and undrinkable.
A team led by Professor Derek Eamus at The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has developed a cheaper and more efficient way to test the optimal design of ‘store-release covers’ – layers of soil and plants that prevent water from leaking into the waste and contaminating the aquifers underneath. “We found that an effective store-release cover has to have enough capacity to store any additional rain that falls in wetter years. The trees have to grow leaves that cover the entire ground, and their roots have to reach the bottom of the soil cover,” Prof. Eamus says. “This model removes a lot of guesswork and decreases the number of experiments that we have to carry out. So not only are these covers cheaper to build, they will also be more efficient. This will encourage mining as well as waste management companies to build better covers for their waste.” The model can also be used anywhere in the world to help tackle the global problem of groundwater pollution, Prof. Eamus says. The study “Design of store-release covers to minimize deep drainage in the mining and waste-disposal industries: results from a modelling analyses based on ecophysiological principles” by Derek Eamus, Isa Yunusa, Daniel Taylor and Rhys Whitley was recently published in the journal Hydrological Processes. See:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.9482/abstract.