Geographia Polonica (1997) vol. 68

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The influence of waters from hard-coal mines on the hydrochemical relations of Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) rivers

Andrzej T. Jankowski

Geographia Polonica (1997) vol. 68, pp. 53-64

Abstract

Surface waters of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) are highlytransformed in quality as a consequence of salty minewater discharge to the hydrographicnet. These waters drain coal beds which are extracted to a depth of 1000 m.The amount of minewater, discharging directly or indirectly to the river net of the USCBreaches 8—9 m3/s with a variability in particular years of 1—1.5 m3/s, which depends onhydrological conditions of the levels extracted. In 1994, the salt load introduced togetherwith these waters to the Vistula and the Oder reached 6793 tons per 24 hours of chlorideions and 1351 tons per 24 hours of sulphate ions. This accounted for over 50% of thechlorides and about 35% of the sulphates discharged to surface waters in the country.Furthermore, a part of the minewater also contains radioactive elements (radium22 ).The chance to improve the quality of the Oder and Vistula waters in the nearest futureis meagre.

Keywords: minewaters, hydrochemistry, water quality, salinity of river waters, Upper Silesian Coal Basin

Andrzej T. Jankowski, Department of Physical Geography, Silesian University Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland