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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(12), 15269-15284; doi:10.3390/ijerph121214983

Accidental Water Pollution Risk Analysis of Mine Tailings Ponds in Guanting Reservoir Watershed, Zhangjiakou City, China

1
State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, China
2
Guangdong Provincial Academy of Environmental Science, Center for Environmental Risk & Damages Assessment, Guangzhou 510045, China
3
School of Engineering, the King’s Buildings, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK
4
St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, Oxford OX1 4AR, UK
5
College of Civil Construction Engineering, Zhengzhou Institute of Aeronautical Industry Management, Zhengzhou 450015, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 14 September 2015 / Revised: 21 November 2015 / Accepted: 23 November 2015 / Published: 2 December 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2324 KB, uploaded 2 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Over the past half century, a surprising number of major pollution incidents occurred due to tailings dam failures. Most previous studies of such incidents comprised forensic analyses of environmental impacts after a tailings dam failure, with few considering the combined pollution risk before incidents occur at a watershed-scale. We therefore propose Watershed-scale Tailings-pond Pollution Risk Analysis (WTPRA), designed for multiple mine tailings ponds, stemming from previous watershed-scale accidental pollution risk assessments. Transferred and combined risk is embedded using risk rankings of multiple routes of the “source-pathway-target” in the WTPRA. The previous approach is modified using multi-criteria analysis, dam failure models, and instantaneous water quality models, which are modified for application to multiple tailings ponds. The study area covers the basin of Gutanting Reservoir (the largest backup drinking water source for Beijing) in Zhangjiakou City, where many mine tailings ponds are located. The resultant map shows that risk is higher downstream of Gutanting Reservoir and in its two tributary basins (i.e., Qingshui River and Longyang River). Conversely, risk is lower in the midstream and upstream reaches. The analysis also indicates that the most hazardous mine tailings ponds are located in Chongli and Xuanhua, and that Guanting Reservoir is the most vulnerable receptor. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses are performed to validate the robustness of the WTPRA method. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk analysis; mine tailings pond; heavy metal; water pollution; Guanting Reservoir; watershed risk analysis; mine tailings pond; heavy metal; water pollution; Guanting Reservoir; watershed
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, R.; Liu, J.; Zhang, Z.; Borthwick, A.; Zhang, K. Accidental Water Pollution Risk Analysis of Mine Tailings Ponds in Guanting Reservoir Watershed, Zhangjiakou City, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 15269-15284.

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