Surface Water Management at Mines

Surface Water Management at Mines

Areas of Study: Geotechnics

Qualifies for CMS

This course discusses the principles and practice of surface water management at mines. It is intended for mining professionals responsible for the hydrologic, hydraulic, environmental, civil, and mining engineering works required to manage surface water at a mine.

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  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 12 hours

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Certification is optional. Enrollment is required for Certification.

  • Fee for Certification:
  • Not Available
  • Completion:
  • 24 days
  • CEUs:
  • 1.2 (12 PDHs)

Course Summary


This course discusses the principles and practice of surface water management at mines. It describes best management practices for surface water management at a mine in order to achieve the following objectives.

  • Control surface water in order to prevent pollution of on-site and off-site water resources.
  • Divert excess runoff that may otherwise flood or interfere with mine workings.
  • Limit infiltration to mine waste disposal facilities to control potential pollution of surface water and underground waters resulting from excessive infiltration.
  • Control erosion of the site to limit sediment runoff that may negatively affect receiving waters.
  • Control erosion that may otherwise cause excessive damage to mine closure works.


All mines disturb the surface. All mines change the features of the mine site that affect precipitation runoff, evaporation, streamflow, and erosion. All mines involve grading of the site, diversion of runoff, and placement of wastes that increase or decrease infiltration of surface water to the groundwater. Inevitably at a mine it is necessary to capture and control sediments and other pollutants in surface water, and build and operate the works needed to comply with regulations regarding off-site impact by surface waters running from the mine.

Accordingly, this course is intended for all those people at a mine or associated with a mine who may be involved with or responsible for the hydrologic, hydraulic, environmental, civil, and mining engineering works required to manage surface water at a mine.


The course comprises 16 viewing sessions, each of 30 - 60 minutes duration, plus supporting figures, tables, worked examples and references, and interactive reviews that confirm your achievement of the learning objectives. The total duration of the course is approximately 12 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the basic principles of site characterization for surface water management and apply these to typical mine facilities.
  • Apply the principles of channel design, stream and reservoir routing, erosion control, infiltration control and runoff control to surface water management at a mine site.
  • Evaluate practical engineering methods to control surface water flow to make mining safer, more cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly.

Recommended Background

  • A basic knowledge and understanding of mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
  • A basic understanding of the fundamentals of mining and the nature, purpose, and function of mine facilities.
  • Perspective and understanding of environmental, engineering, and technical procedures and practice.
  • A desire to know more and a willingness to apply interest and curiosity.

Jack Caldwell P.E., MS.(Eng.), LLB

Jack Caldwell, P.Eng, has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, an M.Sc. (Eng.) in Geotechnical Engineering and a post-graduate law degree. He has over 35 years engineering experience on mining, civil, geotechnical and site remediation projects. He has worked on numerous projects throughout southern Africa, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States. His project experience includes:

- mines and waste disposal facilities - design, construction supervision and reclamation of tailings impoundments, mine rock dumps, heap leach pads, landfills and radioactive waste disposal units;

- hazardous and radioactive waste site remediation - senior management and technical consultant

- landfills - design, construction, operation and closure with special focus on liners, covers, and soil reinforcement.

In addition, Mr. Caldwell has been the lead specialist for various geotechnical and civil engineering projects in Southern California. Mr. Caldwell has written many engineering reports, proposals, and technical papers. He is the lead author of the book, Principles and Practice of Waste Encapsulation, on the design of waste disposal facilities for radioactive and hazardous wastes.