Applicability of Water Quality Monitoring Systems and Models in Developing Countries in the Context of Mining Development
Mining is one of the major sources of pollution to the environment. Water resources are greatly impacted by mining and the main problem is the contamination due to acid mine drainage. Countries with well-developed mining activity are already experiencing its impacts. The impacts are sometimes irreversible and even if it is possible, reclamation is costly. Developing countries are experiencing a very rapid development of mining while not prepared to effectively monitor its impacts to the water resources. The aim of this paper is to review and suggest systems and models that can be used to increase the sustainability of river water quality monitoring in developing countries when there is mining activity. Monitoring systems are always multipurpose and are generally not designed to monitor pollution from mining. However, when there is mining it is important to include: turbidity, suspended solids, pH, and alkalinity, as well as the concentration of sulfate, iron, manganese, and heavy metals in the monitored parameters. The monitoring systems can be improved by enhancing data-sharing and centralizing the data-collection systems in the river basin. The surface water quality models which show satisfactory results in modelling the mixing of river water with acid mine drainage are PHREEQC and MINTEQC. However, these models are limited when it comes to simulate reaction-transport processes which characterizes the streams affected by acid mine drainage.
Keywords- Acid mine drainage, modelling, monitoring systems, river, mining