Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Singh, RN, Dharmappa, HB and Sivakumar, M, Study of Waste Water Quality Management in IIlawarra Coal Mines, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 1998: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1998, 456-473.


This paper is concerned with two case histories of wastewater quality management in underground coal mines in the I1lawarra region. The first investigation briefly presents an analysis of mine water discharge having an extremely high concentration of suspended solids and consistently high barium concentrations, averaging 14.4 mg/l Barium, over the sampling period. A laboratory study of chemical precipitation processes has indicated that about 91% of barium could be removed by using ferric sulphate and lime. On the basis of the information obtained from the environmental audit process an alternative water treatment and reuse system incorporating 51% reduction in the water consumption with 32% less off-site discharge has been suggested (Thomas, 1995). The second case history is concerned with the storm water management at a mine situated in the Illawarra escarpment where only 20% of the wastewater generated in the colliery is discharged off -site. Computer modelling of the storm water system showed that 75% of the clean runoff becomes contaminated through poor management practices and causes the process wastewater treatment system to fail in wet weather. Suggested improvements include relatively simple alteration to the coal wash filtration dams which are expected to reduce the periods of inefficient operation of these dams by 95%. The use of storm water diversion channels and detention basins can reduce the overflow volumes by 70 -100 % for a ten year ARI (Average Recurrence Interval) storm event (Wingrove 1996).