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Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 10:55 AM


ARMSTRONG, Trent1, HEATH, Gail H.2, SCOTT, Clark2 and SMITH, Casey2, (1)Idaho National Lab, University of Idaho, P.O. Box 1625, MS 1625, Idaho Falls, ID 83415, (2)Idaho National Lab, P.O. Box 1625, MS 1625, Idaho Falls, ID 83415,

Self-calibrating remote monitoring systems are designed to reduce the cost and time needed to properly monitor acid mine drainage issues as well as assist in the remedial efforts. Self-calibrating systems allow real time data at low cost.

A self-calibrating system has been installed at the Barite Hill Pit Lake, an acid mine pit lake with a stratified water column consisting of nearly ‘clean’ water at the top and highly acidic, heavy metal rich water below. The purpose of the monitoring system is to automatically sample and analyze daily for pH, ORP, DO, temperature, and conductivity at 5 foot increments down the profile of the pit lake water column. The four wells located in the waste rock repository south of the lake are also autonomously monitored for the same properties as the pit lake. The system also includes a sonic water level sensor to monitor the pit lake level. This sensor along with a camera mounted to observe the spillway and floating chemical system is used as an early warning system to monitor Lake Overflow. Stainless steel thermocouples are used to collect temperature every ten minutes along the vertical profile in the lake as well as the monitoring wells. Remote site communications is provided by a dedicated two-way cellular modem that allows continuous access to the system for data download software updates, and eventually remote control. The data is recorded on site as well as automatically grabbed by a remote server and parsed into a relational database. A secure web interface provides access to the data from any online computer, has graduated levels of access with multiple permissions levels, basic data analysis, and plotting tools.

This type of self-calibrating monitoring systems allows low cost year round access to remote sites that previously has not been achievable. The high data density provides information suitable for the understanding of the complex system dynamics allowing good management and engineering decisions to be possible.

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