IOM3 - Mine water resurgence in the Fife coalfield

9th March 2021 4:00 pm

The Fordell Day Level (FDL) discharge drains polluted mine water from the Central Fife Coalfield and has had a negative visual and ecological impact on the Fordell Burn since the 1970s. In 2009, excavations at Muir Dean Surface Coal Mine intersected an underground section of day level. Up to 300L/s of mine water poured into the working surface mine void prior to being pumped, treated and discharged into a nearby watercourse by the site operator, Hargreaves. Consequently, water quality in the Fordell Burn improved and the FDL discharge flow reduced. Coaling and mine dewatering at Muir Dean ceased in 2016 and groundwater across the coalfield began to rebound. During this period, coalfield wide flow and chemistry monitoring revealed that flow paths within the coalfield had been fundamentally altered, possibly related to dewatering and backfill at Muir Dean. This presentation demonstrates that the hydrogeology of historic flooded underground coalfields can be permanently altered by modern day mineral extraction and associated dewatering activities.

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