Overview
Environmental Management
Pit Lakes
Numerical Modeling
Project Permitting
Visualization

The rate and direction of groundwater flow is a factor that is evaluated as part of many Lorax projects.  Groundwater is of concern due to its ability to transport contaminants from impacted project sites to the receiving environment.  In addition, the rate of groundwater flow can be a major factor on the rate and development of pit lakes in mine voids.  Groundwater flow rates are dependent of the hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer and the hydraulic gradients that develop therein. Other factors that influence groundwater flow include:

  • Infiltration rates

  • Location and shape of groundwater discharge zones

  • Topographic and aquifer configuration constraints

  • Aquifer storage capacity

  • Removal of water from aquifer via pumping wells

The central influence of groundwater in many Lorax projects makes the ability to simulate, predict and present groundwater system behaviour an important service.  In studies where the position of contaminants and the water table in space and time are critical, the use of numerical groundwater models is a valuable tool to assess the current and potential future scenarios.  However, the most valuable use of groundwater modeling software is to evaluate the efficacy of implementing strategies to prevent undesirable conditions from developing.


Lorax staff members utilize several computer models to simulate advective groundwater flux and contaminant transport including:

  • FEFLOW: Developed in Germany by WASY, FEFLOW is an interactive finite element simulator for flow and transport in subsurface water systems.  In addition, FEFLOW is able to describe the spatial and temporal distribution of groundwater contaminants, to model geothermal processes as well as to estimate the duration and travel times of pollutants in aquifers.

  • Visual MODFLOW: The industry-standard for applications in 3-D groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling. It is a modular three-dimensional finite-difference groundwater model developed by the USGS (MODFLOW) and Waterloo Hydrogeologic Inc (Visual MODFLOW).

  • FLOWPATH: A 2-D, finite difference, groundwater flow, pathline and contaminant transport modeling package developed by Waterloo Hydrogeologic Inc. It computes hydraulic heads, pathlines, travel times, velocities and water balances and contaminant transport (verified against the USGS MODFLOW, approved by the US EPA, and recommended by the IGWMC).