Changing Groundwater in the North East

Eleanor Haresign, Senior Hydrogeologist, and Mike McDonald, Technical Director, were in Newcastle recently at the Environment Agency’s Changing Groundwater in the North East conference. Held at the distinctive Mining Institute building in central Newcastle, the impacts of past mining in the region were a central theme for the day.

The daylong event included presentations from members of the Environment Agency, The Coal Authority and a number of consultants and developers. Presenters used case studies to highlight the potential implications facing development in the North East.

Since the closure of most of the collieries in the 1970’s, and the cessation of groundwater pumping to manage the workings, groundwater levels have risen. In many places these are now close to ground surface, with artesian conditions in places, and can pose significant risks for flooding, pollution, and long-term sustainability of developments.

While the Coal Authority currently runs a large number of mine water treatment schemes, the take home message from the event was that we now need to think more proactively and innovatively about potential groundwater issues at the earliest opportunity in this area, to ensure future time/cost implications are mitigated.

We were able to share the recent work of our Saltaire hydrogeology team, including an assessment of saline intrusion at Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool. Plus, a complex catchment assessment that focused on river-groundwater interactions in the Skerne catchment, which faces pressures from:

  • Losing flows
  • Nutrient pressures from STW discharges
  • Public water supply abstraction
  • Historic mine dewatering.

Want to know more?

We understand that throughout your development project you need the right specialist service at the right time to ensure any potential adverse effects are addressed early on. Groundwater is an important natural resource requiring careful management to conserve its value. It can contribute significantly to sustainable communities and the health of aquatic habitats.

Email Eleanor Haresign for more information and to see a copy of the posters mentioned above. You can also find out more on our groundwater web page.

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