• Alaska mining and water quality

      Zemansky, Gil M.; Tilsworth, Timothy; Cook, Donald J. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1976-06)
      The Institute of Water Resources has sought financial assistance for some time in an attempt to initiate research relative to the impact of mining on water quality. Attempts were made as early as 1971 by Dr. Timothy Tilsworth and later by Dr. Donald Cook and Dr. Sage Murphy. These investigators anticipated growth in placer gold mining and the development of natural resources in Alaska during a period of national and environmental concern. The subsequent energy "crisis," the major increase in the price of gold on the world market, and dwindling nonrenewable resource supplies have resulted in large-scale mineral exploration in Alaska. This exploration, coupled with development of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, has attracted considerable capital for potential investment and development in Alaska. Expected industrial growth has already started and major new projects are "just around the corner." Yet, as of 1976, no major research effort has occurred to determine the extent of or potential for water quality impacts from mining operations in Alaska. Recently a series of interdisciplinary research projects have been completed in Canada; however, the application of Canadian data to Alaskan problems is uncertain. Although, state and federal government agencies have been advised and are aware of this potential problem and lack of baseline data they have not sought out new information or rational solutions. Even now, with deadlines of Public Law 92-500 at hand, some regulatory agencies give the impression of attempting to ignore the situation. Interim limitations are proposed and permits are issued with no discernible rationale or basis. Data have not been obtained relative to the Alaskan mining operations and thus are not available for use in seeking solutions compatible with mining and environmental protection. Numbers appear to have been arbitrarily assigned to permits and water quality standards. When permits are issued, self-monitoring requirements are negligible or nonexistent. Nor have regulatory agencies demonstrated the ability or inclination to monitor mining operations or enforce permits and water quality standards. It was hoped that the project would bring together miners, environmentalists, and regulators in a cooperative effort to identify the problems and seek solutions. The investigators recognized the political sensitivity of the subject matter but proceeded optimistically. Relatively good cooperation, though not total, occurred early in the project. In April 1976, a symposium was held to exchange ideas and determine the state-of-the-art. Although the symposium had good attendance and an exchange of information occurred, the symposium itself was somewhat of a disappointment. With few exceptions, the participants aligned on one side or the other in preconceived fixed positions. Some even chose not to attend and were therefore able to avoid the issues. Little hard data was presented. Optimistically, some of the miners, environmentalists, and regulators are prepared to resolve their differences. This report, hopefully, will be of benefit to them. It is our experience that miners and environmentalists share a love of the land that is uniquely Alaska. We feel that technology is available for application to this problem for those who care about doing the job right in the "last frontier." Whether or not it will be effectively applied to protect Alaska's water resources is a question which remains unanswered.
    • Alaska Mining and Water Quality: Proceedings of the Symposium

      University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1979-04
      Very little information on Alaska mining activities and resulting environmental changes has been available. The objectives of this research were to: 1) review the literature pertinent to water quality deterioration resulting from mining activities, and 2) conduct a symposium, "Alaska Mining and Water Quality," in Fairbanks, Alaska. Alaska Mining and Water Quality (IWR Report 74) was published in June 1976. The report covers effluent limitations and water quality standards, physical parameters, chemical/biological parameters, and effects of Alaska mining on water quality. Over 300 references are cited, and a description of settling pond theory is appended. The literature review Focused primarily on mining activities in Canada and the contiguous portion of the United States. The main emphasis of the literature review was directed at gold mining and coal mining operations; however, other mining activities relevant to Alaska were examined. The April 9, 1976, symposium was meant to achieve: 1) information dissemination, 2) increased and more effective communication, 3) env1ronmental awareness, and 4) identification of environmental problems and potential solutions associated with mining activities in Alaska. Although there was good attendance and an exchange of information, the other objectives of the symposium were not attained. With few exceptions, both speakers and participants were aligned in extreme positions, and they presented little actual data to support their conclusions. The purpose of this publication is to present differing viewpoints on important and controversial issues in Alaskan water resources with the hope that effective solutions can be achieved through consideration of all facets of the problems.
    • Clearing Alaskan water supply impoundments: management, laboratory study, and literature review

      Smith, Daniel W.; Justice, Stanley R. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1976-04)
      Water supply impoundments in northern regions have seen only limited application. Reasons for the lack of use of such impoundments include the following: 1) little demand for water due to the low population densities and rustic life styles; 2) a lack of conventional distribution systems in many communities; 3) poorly developed technology for construction of dams on permafrost; 4) adequacy of existing river, lake, ice, and lagoon water supplies; 5) shortage of capital to finance the high cost of construction in remote regions.
    • Economic and Organizational Issues in Alaska Water Quality Management

      Erickson, Gregg K.; Tussing, Arlon R. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1971-09)
    • Factors Affecting Water Management on the North Slope of Alaska

      Greenwood, Julian K.; Murphy, R. Sage (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1972-02)
      The North Slope of Alaska is undergoing sudden development following the recent discovery of large oil and gas reserves in the area. The water resources of the region should be carefully managed both to ensure adequate supplies of usable water at reasonable cost, and to guard against excessive deterioration of water quality. The likely effects on the environment of man's activities are investigated and found to be poorly understood at the present time. Research priorities are suggested to supply rapid answers to questions of immediate importance. The applicability of a regional management concept to the North Slope waters is considered and the concept is recommended as part of a broad land and water planning philosophy which would emphasize regional control over state and federal control. The use of economic incentives rather than standards for the control of water quality is not recommended at the present time.
    • A Ground Water Quality Summary for Alaska: a Termination Report

      Kim, Steve W.; Johnson, Phillip R.; Murphy, R. Sage (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1969)
      The expanding economic activity throughout the State of Alaska has created an urgent demand for water resource data. Ground water quality information is of particular interest since this is the most used source for domestic and industrial supplies. Many agencies and individuals have accumulated large quantities of data but their value has been marginal due to a lack of distribution to potential users. It was the original intent of the work reported herein to gather, collate, and publish all ground water quality data available in the files of university, state, and federal laboratories. Soon after the inception of the project the major contributor, the U.S. Geological Survey, found it was administratively impossible to contribute either the monies or the data necessary to accomplish the ultimate goals of the project -- An Atlas on Alaskan Ground Water Qualities. At the time the above decision was made the Institute felt too much information was on hand to allow it to lay fallow. Therefore, this report was prepared, In a more limited scope than originally planned, to fill the need for a readily available source of information.
    • Ground Water: Alaska's Hidden Resource: Proceedings

      Ashton, William S. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1989-03)
      Surface water quality -- Surface/ground water interactions -- Ground water monitoring, modeling, and data management -- Transport and removal of contaminants in soil and ground water
    • Practical Application of Foam Fractionation Treatment of Low Quality Water

      Murphy, R. Sage (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1969)
      The foaming technique has found extensive use for organic, ion, and colloid separations from liquid systems. When used to remove an ion or a colloid, a specific surface-active agent of opposite charge to the particle being removed is added to the solution and floated to the surface of the suspension by gas bubbles. The ion or colloid is adsorbed at the bubble interfaces and collected within the froth formed at the surface of the container. The froth, with the contaminant or concentrated material (depending upon the process and its use) is physically separated at this point and further processed or discharged to waste. The clarified bottom liquid is therefore suitable for other uses. In the water supply field, the bottom liquid is the important product that is to be recovered and used for consumptive purposes. Much research has been performed on the theory and applications of various adsorptive bubble separation methods. These studies are well documented in the literature for various industries and applications which might take advantage of the method. It was not the intent of this work to amplify the findings of other research. The project was undertaken in an attempt to scale-up laboratory experiments previously performed at this Institute. No extension of theory, new processes, or revolutionary findings were attempted.
    • Resolving Alaska's Water Resources Conflicts: Proceedings

      Dwight, Linda Perry (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1985-11)
      Limnology -- Mining -- Hydroelectric Power Development -- Hydrology and Hydraulics -- Community and Regional Water Conflicts -- Appendix: Papers presented at the 1984 Annual Meeting
    • Water Quality in the Great Land, Alaska's Challenge: Proceedings

      Huntsinger, Ronald G. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1987-10)
      Administering water quality programs -- Surface water issues -- Groundwater issues -- Sediments and resource development