Fighting a losing battle with the elements

A row of a dozen houses perched on cliffs at Sidmouth in east Devon are losing their yard space to the sea.

Martin McInerney, 82, has lost 20m (65ft) of his garden in the 20 years he has lived there and expects the cliff to be at his back door within 60 years.

The Environment Agency says it is working to get funding for a plan to reduce encroachment by the sea.

Henry Sapiecha

Capetown in South Africa is turning off its taps because of the drought


South Africa’s second largest city is in the midst of a severe drought and if taps are turned off it would make it the first city in the world to run dry.

Henry Sapiecha

Tahoe refutes allegations in reports of water contamination

Tahoe Resources (TSX, NYSE:THO) is denying a media report issued on Thursday that its Shahuindo mine in Peru has contaminated local water supplies.

The story (in Spanish) by Cajabamba Peru, stated that heavy rains caused a leaching pit to overflow and flooded a nearby village.

“The heavy rains that have occurred that in the early hours of today, one of the waste pits of this company overflowed and flooded the village of Liclipampa Bajo, in the province of Cajabamba, leaving crops and houses flooded with highly toxic materials,” states the article, translated from Spanish. “The population is worried because in this pond there would be highly dangerous waste, which would put at risk the lives of the affected inhabitants.”

However according a release by Tahoe issued the next day, a ditch designed to keep rainwater out of the mining area overflowed, but it was upstream of the permitted discharge point. “At no time has the rainwater had any contact with process water or any contamination from industrial activities,” the Vancouver-based gold producer stated. It added that the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Control (OEFA) visited the mine to take water and sediment samples, and found that the leach pond did not overflow.

Tahoe did acknowledge that some communities were impacted by the heavy rains and that it is moving heavy equipment in to clear roads and mud.

The Shahuindo mine is an open-pit heap leach gold mine that started commercial production in 2016. It expects to ramp up to full production of 36,000 tonnes per day in the second half of this year. The mine has proven and probable reserves of 110.3 million tonnes, containing 1.9 million gold ounces, with an average grade of 0.52 grams per tonne.

Henry Sapiecha

Bad health news for surfers

SURFERS are three times more likely to have dangerous superbugs in their bodies than non-surfers.

For the first time, international researchers have discovered that wave riders have a higher rate of the bacteria E coli in their gut that does not respond to the antibiotic cefotaxime.

Cefotaxime has previously been prescribed to kill off these bugs but some have acquired genes that enable them to survive.

E coli is caused by food or water contamination and can spark bloody diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fever.

The resport published in the journal Environment International found that boardriders ingest 10 times more water than swimmers.

As superbugs continue to be a global challenge, there is increasing focus on the part played by the natural environment. This research was carried out in the UK.

“We are not seeking to discourage people from spending time in the sea – an activity which has a lot of benefits in terms of exercise, wellbeing and connecting with nature,” Dr Will Gaze, head researcher from University of Exeter Medical School, said.

“It is important that people understand the risks involved so that they can make informed decisions about their bathing and sporting habits.

“We now hope that our results will help policymakers, beach managers and water companies to make evidence-based decisions to improve water quality even further for the benefit of public health.”

Queensland environmental expert Professor Tor Hundloe said our seas were cleaner than many surfing spots overseas.

“Certainly tests upstream may show up bacteria but once you reach the open waters, they are relatively clean,” Prof Hundloe said.

“I would surf anywhere on this planet. There’s not much of a risk from contaminated water,” Kayla said.

Henry Sapiecha

Video explains Several Mistakes to Avoid when Harvesting Your Rain Water

Best ways to avoid doing the wrong thing when catching rainwater

Fish that eat mosquitoes & safety issues with catching rain water

Henry Sapiecha

You are a criminal for catching rain water on your own property video shows



Governments control of your own resourcs is evil.STOP IT NOW.

Henry Sapiecha

The Shape of Water: How Guillermo del Toro Designed His Latest Movie Water Monster


Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is a virtuoso maker of monsters—from the Pale Man of Pan’s Labyrinth to Pacific Rim’s Kaiju, they’re wondrous yet terrifying. But the star of his new film, The Shape of Water, is no mere beast, del Toro says: “He’s a leading man.” The Cold War fairy tale depicts a doomed romance between a captive fish-man and a mute janitor (Sally Hawkins). Del Toro collaborated with sculptors for three years to perfect his amphibian, from the creature’s Renaissance nose to his statuesque derriere. (It’s carefully shaped from foam latex.) We asked the beastmaster to dissect his work.

Gleaming Eyes
“In sculpting the white of the eye, the imperfections are important. His acrylic eyes are backed by a reflective material so they catch the light, like a coyote’s eye in a car headlight.”

Defined Nose
“I wanted to make the Michelangelo’s David of amphibian men, so we created this Greek-like nose. He has an amazing profile.”

Fierce Claws
“If you make him adorable, it’s boring. So at first he seems threatening, then he seems cuddly, then he eats a goddamn cat. It’s important to keep the aggressive design lines.”

Agile Legs
Doug Jones wears the ­creature’s foam latex suit. “He moves like an animal in some scenes and like a toreador in others.”

Expressive Brow
“We made an eyebrow ridge that looks angry, then painted a line near it to appear sad. Depending on how we light him, the expression can change.”

Artful Gills
“The body paint refers to a Japanese engraving from the Edo period of a beautiful black fish.”

Sinewy Webbing
“This webbing makes him buoyant. If the creature were swimming, it would be like a hydrodynamic skydiving suit.”

Henry Sapiecha


Mine water management: recent results from India

One of the largest cement manufacturing companies in India, OCL India Limited, produces limestone from its open-cut Lanjiberna mine. With increases in mining depth, the mine is facing significant inflow of water, resulting in the formation of pit lakes. The area experiences significant rainfall during the monsoon months. OCL retained SRK India to help advise on potential water inflows with the deepening of the limestone pits and to develop a cost-effective mine water management solution.

Currently OCL operates three adjacent limestone pits with a fourth used to store pumped out water. During the initial phase of the study, SRK noticed that some water management practices had been overlooked causing high levels of inflow to the pits. The presence of large unlined water bodies and garland drains close to pit edges could be responsible for recirculating water. There were no interception or diversion structures to minimise the impacts of recirculation. Similar oversights were noted at some of theother projects that SRK India is presently involved in. For example, the pit at the Mangampet barytes mine is closely surrounded by unlined garland drains and water impoundment structures. To identify connections between water features, SRK suggested simple fluorescence-based tracer tests and accretion surveys along these drains.

To understand the water management issues at Lanjiberna mine, SRK developed a water balance model. It indicates the split between surface and groundwater inflows: about 5% is from direct rainfall onto the pit lakes, 45% from surface runoff, and the remaining 50% from groundwater seepage.

The Lanjiberna deposit belongs to a Precambrian metasedimentary sequence with multiphase folding and faulting. Landsat 8 satellite images and walk over surveys indicate large-scale lineaments intersect the Lanjiberna pits. Such narrow, elongated fracture zones may act as hydraulic pathways for groundwater flows into the pits. While overall groundwater inflows contribute about 50% of the pit lake water, a good proportion could be due to recirculation from nearby unlined water holding facilities.

Subsequently, SRK mapped the perennial (and seasonal) seepages inside the pit, which indicate reasonable correlation with narrow, linear structures and the regional groundwater flow pattern. Based on the preliminary water balance, SRK developed numerical models to estimate potential groundwater inflows. The results, though preliminary in nature, predict significant water inflows with progressive deepening of the pits.

Overall, it appears that restricting potential recirculation, improving existing storm water management and intercepting groundwater seepages by peripheral dewatering wells along the narrow fracture zones are key solutions for this operation. To validate this, SRK suggested further sitespecific data gathering, including detailed fracture mapping, Electrical Resistivity Tomography along selective transects, pumping tests, tracer tests and accretion surveys along the unlined garland drains.

Henry Sapiecha

Mine Water Management Overview

As the mining industry focuses on improving productivity, reducing operating costs, and venturing into ever more challenging and remote locations for new projects, there is an increased need to look upon water as a whole-project issue.

Add broader perspectives such as stakeholder considerations and effects of a changing climate and water can present a significant risk to a mining project if not fully understood and managed. In this newsletter, we look at diverse aspects of water in the mining industry where SRK has added value and expertise to clients’ projects. There are several strong themes that come through in the articles:

A changing climate: many mines and projects are located in regions where climate patterns are already changing. The way water is managed on mine sites needs to adapt accordingly; from effective flood risk mitigation through to ensuring operational continuity under drought conditions.

Integrated water management: whole-operation water management begins with effective mine site water balances but also requires a joined-up approach between the various functional teams running the mine. Interactive dashboards are just one example of how diverse water management activities at an operation can be more effectively managed.

Focused studies: clients often want specific issues investigated, or solutions developed for a particular problem. The diverse range of technical water-related studies profiled here demonstrates the strength and depth of SRK’s experience which we apply to respond to our clients needs. Our understanding of mining operations and clients’ objectives and priorities enables us to design and implement studies in a focused and effective manner.

Groundwater management is one area where very specialised, niche studies are required to fully understand the conditions at a particular project site before appropriate solutions can be evaluated and designed.

Tailings facility management is another focus area for targeted studies. In both cases, the combination of targeted field investigations and testwork, careful data analysis and appropriate modelling are essential in delivering a successful outcome.

Water care and good governance: employing water re-use and minimisation methods in mining operations not only reduces costs but also reduces risks and improves corporate governance indicators. Mine operations are becoming increasingly aware of their water ‘footprint’ and the benefits this approach delivers.

Good neighbours: the increasing recognition of water as a finite resource to be safeguarded, managed and shared with the wider community is driving mining companies more and more to improved mine water management throughout the design, operational management and closure lifecycle of projects. The other way of looking at this is conflict-mitigation; working alongside and with local communities and being recognised as good neighbours.

In summary, SRK helps identify, manage and mitigate risks in mine water management while also highlighting opportunities through innovative thinking and embracing a whole project approach.


Tony Rex:
Tom Sharp:

Henry Sapiecha

Proposed timber tower would be a tall order drink of water for NYC

The Central Park Tower would rise to a height of 712 ft (217 m), making it the world’s tallest timber tower

New York City’s DFA Studio recently unveiled a blue sky proposal for an observation tower in Central Park. If built, it would be the world’s tallest timber structure and offer excellent views of NYC. Interestingly, it would also filter the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and turn it into a freshwater pond for everyone’s use.

Looking a little like a throwing dart with its slender form and long lightning rod spire, the Central Park Tower would rise to a total height of 712 ft (217 m). Inside, it would include some retail and restaurant kiosks, as well as a viewing platform offering 360-degree views of the area.

The tower would be made primarily from Glulam (glue-laminated timber), as was used extensively in the Oslo Airport extension. However, the design is actually quite complex structurally and would include a steel core, intricate wooden helix, and transparent PVC skin, and be anchored with a concrete base and stabilizing cables.

The integrated filtration system would be used to filter the currently fenced-off Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (aka Central Park Reservoir), which non-locals may recognize as the big body of water featured in movies

es like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, turning it into a pond that could be used for all. One example shown is the water being used for sailboats.

“Located in the heart of Central Park, near some of New York’s most important cultural institutions, the underutilized 106-acre [42.9 hectare] body of water occupies one-eighth of the park’s total area and is 40-feet [12 m] deep, with approximately 1 billion gallons of contaminated water,” says the firm. “Aside from supplying water to the pool and Harlem Meer, the reservoir sits stagnant and fenced off due to its current state as a health threat to millions of New Yorkers, tourists and animals.”

The filtration system would be located in the tower’s lower section, within its steel core. The firm says that the considerable power necessary for running it would be met with a vertical axis wind turbine, which, though we’ve no figures to look at, seems a stretch.

DFA Studio also reports that thanks to prefabricated construction methods, the tower could be built as quickly as six months, though describes it as a “temporary” structure, so presumably its lifespan would be quite limited. Either way, we’ll stick our necks out and say this ambitious idea is unlikely to be built.

Source: DFA Studio

Henry Sapiecha

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