May 2010 ES-2 063-7109
hydrologic report_ final
During future mining activities, the following changes are estimated based on the modeling results:
The average annual groundwater inflow into the North Quarry will initially increase byapproximately 60 gpm as the North Quarry is deepened to 440 ft amsl. The groundwaterinflow rate in the North Quarry will subsequently decrease as the North Quarry isreclaimed (backfilled) from 440 to 990 ft amsl and the South Quarry is excavated. Sincethe South Quarry will be shallower, sustained groundwater inflow into the South Quarrywill be up to an estimated 90 gpm, and will not occur until the base of the South Quarry isat its lowest elevation. Similar to the North Quarry, the groundwater inflow rate willdecrease as the South Quarry is reclaimed (backfilled) to a minimum elevation of 1,110 ftamsl.
The simultaneous development of the South Quarry, and the reclamation of the NorthQuarry, will have no measurable impact on groundwater discharge to Monte Bello Creekand to the upper reaches of Permanente Creek. A decrease in groundwater discharge tothe middle reach of Permanente Creek (i.e., adjacent to the quarry) of 0.1 cfs (40 gpm) isestimated to occur with the deepening of the North Quarry. However, once the NorthQuarry is reclaimed and fully backfilled, then the middle reach of Permanente Creek willreceive 0.46 cfs (206 gpm) more groundwater discharge than under current conditions.
The predicted annual average post-mining water elevation in the South Quarry is belowthe minimum backfill elevation for the South Quarry; therefore, the development of a pitlake is not anticipated based on the available data. The estimated average annual inflowfrom all sources (groundwater, surface water, and precipitation) to the South Quarry atequilibrium is 26 gpm.
The post-mining water level in the North Quarry will reach a maximum elevation equal tothe backfill elevation of 990 ft amsl (which is the low-point surface water overflow toPermanente Creek). At equilibrium, the estimated total annual average inflow(groundwater, surface water, and precipitation) into the North Quarry is 169 gpm. Thesequantities are expected to discharge to Permanente Creek primarily as groundwaterdepending on the permeability of the materials separating the quarry from the creek.During periods of intense rainfall, and during seasonal high groundwater conditions, thereis a potential that discharge from the reclaimed North Quarry to Permanente Creek mayoccur as surface water if appropriate water management techniques are not employed.
The planned quarry expansion will have no significant impact to groundwater levels insupply wells located along Monte Bello Ridge, approximately between ¾ and one milefrom the center of the South Quarry. Therefore, operation of these wells, or any othernearby wells, will not be adversely affected by the planned quarry expansion andsubsequent reclamation.
Current Geochemistry Conditions
The objective of the geochemical evaluation was to establish and document current conditions for surfacewater and groundwater quality. Water quality conditions were characterized over a one-year period. Theprogram entailed sampling of five groundwater wells within the proposed South Quarry, three surfacewater locations (two at Permanente Creek and one at Monte Bello Creek), and mine water quality fromthe North Quarry. Furthermore, to evaluate the environmental behavior of geologic materials present atthe proposed quarry, geochemical characterization of overburden (rock and soil) and ore materials wasconducted. Both laboratory and field-scale testing (wall wash sampling) were conducted to evaluate thepotential for metal leaching. A separate report discusses the analysis of collected data and projectedwater quality.