Predicting Response of An Aquifer System to Uranium Extraction Oakville Aquifer, Texas Coastal Plain

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Galloway, William E.
Henry, Christopher D.
Smith, Gary E.

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The initiation or expansion of uranium mining in the Texas Gulf Coastal Plain, utilizing both open-pit and in situ leach methods, raises concerns about the potential impact on groundwater within mineralized aquifers. Understanding the hydrodynamics, hydrochemical evolution, and matrix geochemistry of these aquifers is essential for implementing effective protection and restoration measures. To address these issues, the Oakville Sandstone, a significant Coastal Plain aquifer, was chosen as a natural laboratory.

The Oakville Sandstone comprises deposits from several major fluvial systems. The geometry and composition of these facies, along with superimposed structures and topography, play crucial roles in determining groundwater flux, aquifer transmissivity, and regional hydrochemical evolution. Groundwater flux patterns, especially in the shallow portions suitable for mining, can be highly complex and influenced by various factors.

Studying the interrelationships among hydrodynamics, hydrochemical evolution, and matrix geochemistry in the Oakville Sandstone will provide insights into the effectiveness of mining technology in coastal plain aquifer systems. This research will aid in developing strategies to mitigate potential impacts on groundwater quality and ensure sustainable uranium mining practices in the region.


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