Characterization refers to the studies that are used by regulatory agencies, engineers, or the interested public to describe and analyze a mine site. While it is a useful tool for assessing the specific problems that will need attention at a site, it is also important for determining the type of reclamation activities that will be needed to return the land to its pre-mining condition. Proper characterization of the mine site and any acid drainage can significantly increase the likelihood of success and help avoid any costly mistakes in the reclamation plan.
Abandoned mine site characterization includes a description and location of the mine openings, buildings, waste piles, roads, streams, seeps, and other important features. This may require a map and description of the lands’ topography, as well as some research into the type of mining that was used, the type of processing, and a brief history of the site. Other important issues that are often included in a site characterization include its geology, hydrology, aquatic life, and wildlife.
One of the most important parts of a site characterization is a sampling plan, which refers to a timeline and method for collecting data at a site. This can include a chemical assessment of solid materials, such as tailings, waste rock, or soil, or water sources, such as groundwater or surface water.
A water quality monitoring program can be an important first step in the overall site characterization process, and many Trout Unlimited chapters and watershed groups have experience in this arena. A simple water quality monitoring program can be done by volunteers and may include measurements of water flow, acidity, alkalinity, (iron species, and analytical ion balance.) ...
The sampling methods section discusses how you sample for solids ,
groundwater, surface water, vegetation, fish, and other invertebrates.