This paper provides a review of the engineered systems implemented at the south tailings pond (STP) for seepage mitigation and pressure relief, and the continued advancement in understanding the hydrogeological systems being managed. A brief recap of the project, the site hydrogeology and pertinent design criteria are provided, together with information on the design, installation, functionality and performance of the engineered groundwater control systems. The STP, an oil sands external tailings storage facility was commissioned in July 2006. Three of four principal seepage mitigation and pressure relief design elements have been installed in the Wood Creek Sand Channel (WCSC) aquifer. These are the Northwest Wellfield, the Southwest Cut-off Wall and the passive relief well system. Following the design basis, an observational approach was adopted, and the requirements for additional seepage mitigation design elements are assessed through ongoing performance monitoring for the tailings structure and the groundwater control systems, and using improved hydrogeological understanding gained from the application of geophysical technology.
Vincent-Lambert, W., M. Bowron, C. Langton and B. Stephens. 2011. “Groundwater Control for Tailings Dams Built on Large Pleistocene Channel Deposits: A Case Study of Integrated Systems at Suncor’s South Tailings Pond,” in: Tailings and Mine Waste 2011, 15th International Conference on Tailings and Mine Waste, Vancouver, British Columbia, November 6 -9, 2011. Vancouver: Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering.
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