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CSCE Web Presentation October 6th
Join us on Thursday October 6th at noon for a webinar presentation – Copper Basin Mine Reclamation!
The Copper Basin is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southeastern Tennessee near the Georgia and North Carolina state lines. Geologically the site is a massive sulfide deposit that was mined for copper, iron, zine, and sulfur. The mining began in the 1850s but was limited due to its remote location. By the 1890s the railroad reached the basin which led to the increase of the number of active mines and the extraction of ores. In the 1890s, the ores were open roasted to burn off the sulfur, concentrating the metals. This open roasting lead to clear cutting the forests and to the release of sulfides into the atmosphere, which in turn created localized acid rain. By the late 1890s the basin was devoid of vegetation and was undergoing massive erosion. The area remained “The Barren Red Hills” until the 1980s when planting Southern Pines began to revegetate the basin. Underground and surface mining continued in the basin until 1987 when all the mines were closed during a strike by the miners. The assessment and remediation/reclamation of the Copper Basin began in 2001 based on agreements between the US EPA, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and OXY USA. The project has been conducted as a Superfund Alternative Site that used adaptive management for the implementation of the work. This approach allowed the regulators to approve of more creative remedial actions and to allow the early remediation of the heavily impacted areas on the site. The remedial goals for the site are based on the re-establishment of benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects) within the streams. In less than 20 years, the site progressed from the initial assessment activities, through the remedial actions, to long-term O&M. The remedial actions have included the construction and operation of water treatment plants, waste removals from streams and stream banks, disposal of non-hazardous mining waste in flooded mine pits, covering and capping wastes, stream reconstructions, and the construction of engineered wetlands. The Copper Basin has undergone remarkable improvements ranging from the re-establishment of aquatic insects, amphibians, fish into the streams, to the unassisted re-establishment of more diverse forest lands, and to the migration of turkey, bears, deer, mountain lions, and other large mammals back into the basin.
Come and learn more about the amount of work and effort that goes into designing and constructing the perfect concrete island with wiggly curbs
We hope to see you there! Sign up here, CSCE Web Presentation – Copper Basin Reclamation
For any questions please contact the chair. Chair@csceedmonton.ca