Recent hydrological observations from the Riverton and the Maybell tailings piles

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Field and laboratory hydrologic studies of two inactive uranium mill tailings piles are presented. The Riverton, Wyoming site is in close proximity to the water table, while the Maybell, Colorado site represents the contrasting case of the local water table being far below the tailings pile. Field studies included monitoring of hydraulic head profiles of the piles with tensiometers and piezometers, and infiltration tests. Laboratory tests on core samples from the tailings and soil cover included saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity measurements, saturation versus metric heat measurements, particle-size analysis, as well as determination of bulk densities and porosities. The tensiometer ... continued below

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Pages: 12

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Tokunaga, T. & Narashimhan, T.N. September 1, 1982.

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Field and laboratory hydrologic studies of two inactive uranium mill tailings piles are presented. The Riverton, Wyoming site is in close proximity to the water table, while the Maybell, Colorado site represents the contrasting case of the local water table being far below the tailings pile. Field studies included monitoring of hydraulic head profiles of the piles with tensiometers and piezometers, and infiltration tests. Laboratory tests on core samples from the tailings and soil cover included saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity measurements, saturation versus metric heat measurements, particle-size analysis, as well as determination of bulk densities and porosities. The tensiometer data indicate that the major portion of the tailings water at both piles exists under near steady-state unsaturated conditions with flow downward towards the water table. The zero-flux surface in these regions is within a meter of the upper surface of the tailings. A case of upward flow from the aquifer through the tailings was also observed in the thinnest, eastern portion of the Riverton tailings. Combined field data and laboratory results lead to an estimated steady-state downward flow of tailings water in a typical region of the Riverton tailings in the range of 10/sup -10/ m.s/sup -1/ to 10/sup -9/ m.s/sup -1/. This is equivalent to about 3 x 10/sup -3/ m.yr/sup -1/ to 3 x 10/sup -2/ m.yr/sup -1/, a small fraction of the local mean annual precipitation (2.5 x 10/sup -1/ m.yr/sup -1/). This suggests that the bulk of the precipitation input at the Riverton tailings is lost by evaportranspiration within the upper meter of soil cover and tailings.

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Pages: 12

Notes

NTIS, PC A02/MF A01; 1.

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  • 5. annual symposium on uranium mill tailings management, Ft. Collins, CO, USA, 9 Dec 1982

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  • Other: DE83006958
  • Report No.: LBL-15036
  • Report No.: CONF-821209-6
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 6509011
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1204650

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  • September 1, 1982

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  • July 5, 2018, 11:11 p.m.

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  • Oct. 30, 2018, 12:23 p.m.

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Tokunaga, T. & Narashimhan, T.N. Recent hydrological observations from the Riverton and the Maybell tailings piles, article, September 1, 1982; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1204650/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.