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September 3, 2020

UK Coal Authority appoints contractors to stop mine water pollution

The Coal Authority, a UK public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has enlisted new contractors as part of its 4-year framework to design and build mine water treatment schemes across Britain.

By Matthew Hall

The Coal Authority, a UK public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has enlisted new contractors as part of its four-year framework to design and build mine water treatment schemes across Britain.

The new framework has a forecast value of £72m, and covers all major civil engineering works needed to ready treatment sites for the construction of new schemes. These treatment schemes consist of various measures and components, including reed beds, pumping equipment, settlement lagoons and cascade steps.

The four-year framework covers the Coal Authority’s work across England, Scotland and Wales, and contributes to the UK government’s 25-year environment plan.

The Coal Authority said that mechanical and electrical works or other minor works can also be called off the framework to refurbish the Coal Authority’s existing portfolio of more than 82 mine water treatment schemes.

“We’re committed to making a better future for people and the environment in mining areas and a key part of our environmental protection activities is treating water from historical mines to prevent pollution,” Coal Authority operations director Carl Banton said.

The Coal Authority said it had received interest from 60 organisations during the procurement process, and has appointed nine suppliers from those organisations that applied.

Banton added: “This crucial work, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, already sees us treat 122 billion litres of water every year to improve our rivers and protect aquifers and ground waters. We’ll now see that figure increase when more new mine water treatment schemes are built.”

The Coal Authority’s work in treating mine water from historical mines is an important aspect of its environmental protection work. When coal mines close, the pumps that were used to keep water out of the mines are removed, and over time the water levels recover, picking up naturally occurring minerals from rocks such as iron. This can coat riverbeds and prevent plant growth, harming the ecosystems around historical mines.

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