Hydrologic analysis of a limestone quarry using EPA's HELP Version 3.08 Model

Scott R. Bauer



Aggregates were historically a low cost commodity but with communities and governmental agencies reducing the amount of mining the cost is increasing dramatically. An awareness needs to be brought to communities that aggregate production is necessary for ensuring the existing infrastructure in today’s world. This can be accomplished using proven technologies in other areas and applying them to show how viable reclamation is feasible.

A proposed mine reclamation, Douglas Township quarry (DTQ), in Dakota Township, MN was evaluated using Visual Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP) model. The HELP is commonly employed for estimating the water budget of a landfill, however, it was applied to determine the water budget of the DTQ following mining. Using an environmental impact statement as the case study, modeling predictions indicated the DTQ will adequately drain the water being put into the system. The height of the groundwater table will rise slightly due to the mining excavations but no ponding will occur. The application of HELP model determined the water budget of the DTQ and can be used as a viable option for mining companies to demonstrate how land can be reclaimed following mining operations.