Potential Impact of Tailings Pond on Crop and Forest Production

S. Czaban, W. Fialkiewicz, and C. Kabala (Poland)


Land use, assessment, soil, groundwater, modelling


The objective of this study is to develop a method to determine the zones of potential influence of a tailings pond on vegetation in its near vicinity. Negative impact of saline groundwater on crop and forest production has been defined as the possibility that direct contact or the contact through capillary rise occurs between saline water and the plant roots. The MODFLOW software has been used to develop a hydrogeological model which made it possible to determine the depth of the groundwater table. The spatial extent of saline groundwater with a given concentration of chlorides has been assessed using the MT3D package. The root depths of plants cultivated in the vicinity of the tailings pond and the height of capillary rise in soils have been determined based on the data on the soil grain-size distribution, obtained from agricultural soil maps and from over 100 documented geological boreholes, and based on the data on how the land is used. The results of the conducted analyses have made it possible to identify 14 zones of potential influence of saline groundwater in the near vicinity of the waste lagoon for the year 2004 and 10 zones after 15 years of continued use.

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