Water levels fell after pumping operation
Mine water levels in Hauxley dropped slightly during a three month pumping test last autumn. The Coal Authority (CA) carried out the operation to assess water levels and quality, after concerns were raised about flooding and high levels of manganese in water samples taken from the beach.
A series of floods around Hauxley and sink holes on the beach prompted questions from Hauxley Parish Council, The Ambler and local residents to local authorities about where the water was coming from, whether it was dangerous, and what could be done to alleviate some of the problems. Some flooding was judged to be due to blocked drains, (see above) but ground water levels were also known to be very high.
Figures from the CA showed that ground water levels were at the highest they have been since the Hauxley pumping station was shut down in 1985. The levels had grown on average 3 metres per year, taking them from 86.3 metres below sea level in 1988, to above sea level in October 2014.
In August last year, a short term permit was issued by the Environment Agency (EA) to the CA to pump water from the old Hauxley mineshaft, to assess water levels and quality. For three months the water was pumped out of a borehole and onto the beach at Hauxley.
A CA spokesperson told The Ambler: “The pumping test showed mine water levels fell between approximately 0.5m and 6.5m across our mine water monitoring boreholes during the pumping test. The levels of groundwaters outside the old mine workings were not monitored.
They added: “Currently we have no plans to resume pumping at Hauxley. We are hoping to compile analysis of the pumping test and start further studies later this year.”
Levels of manganese in the water taken from the mine shaft at the end of August reached 0.81mg per litre, which greatly exceeds environmental quality standards.
However the authorities said it was not a health concern, as the pumping was not a permanent operation.
The CA said at the time: “The quality of the water being pumped is very similar to that which was discharged at the outfall during the opencast operations. As the water is only moderately mineralised, treatment was not considered necessary during that mining period.
“A technical report concluded that the pumping test will not adversely affect the environmentally protected sites in the local area.”