This paper explores the impacts mining over the past decade had on U-pollution of water resources in the Wonderfonteinspruit catchment. The analysis is mainly based on close to 3400, mostly unpublished, values on U-concentrations of water samples gathered between 1997 and 2008. Results indicate that U-levels in water resources of the whole catchment increased markedly since 1997 even though U-loads emitted by some large gold mines in the Far West Rand were reduced. This apparent contradiction is explained by the contribution of highly polluted water decanting from the flooded mine void in the West Rand. Over the reference period, an average of some 3.5 t of dissolved U have been released into the fluvial system from monitored discharge points alone. However, since Wonderfonteinspruit dries up well before it joins the Mooi River this U-load does not usually impact on the water supply system of downstream Potchefstroom directly. It may, however, indirectly reach Potchefstroom since much of the water from the Wonderfonteinspruit recharges the underlying karst aquifer of the Boskop Turffontein Compartment as the single most important water resource for Potchefstroom.
Read more about it» Uranium Pollution of Water Ressources in Mined-Out ad Active Goldfields of South Africa - Written by Frank Winde