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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Charlotte Adams

Nuttall, C.A. Testing and performance of a newly constructed full-scale passive treatment system at Whittle Colliery, Northumberland. Land Contamination & Reclamation. 2003;11:105-112.
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Iron, Metals, Mine Water, Recovery, Treatment, Wetland

Author(s) from Durham


Mine water recovery has been taking place following the closure and cessation of
pumping at Whittle Colliery (Northumberland) in January 1997. The predicted subsequent
uncontrolled outbreaks of ferruginous water threatened to contaminate the
Hazon Burn which is a tributary of the River Coquet, a valued amenity and water
resource. Consequently, a pump and treat treatment system was commissioned by the
UK Coal Authority and constructed late in 1999 by Entec UK Ltd. The treatment system
receives water pumped from a purpose-drilled borehole which extends into the Whittle
drift. In this way, mine water levels can be kept below predicted decant points (which would otherwise result in discharge at surface) and mine water can be treated in a designated setting. The passive treatment consists of an aeration chamber, two settling lagoons and three aerobic reedbeds. In order to minimise any risk to the River Coquet,this system was tested in January 2002 when river flows would be at their highest. Also due to the low ambient air temperature, the poorest performance of the system would be expected at this time of year. The system received pumped mine water at a range of flow rates over a period of six weeks and was very successful at removing iron. Following these promising results the system became permanently operational in the summer
of 2002.