Merthyr Tydfil in Wales is home to the massive Ffos-y-fran land reclamation scheme by Millar Argent, where over 10 million tonnes of coal will be extracted in the next fifteen years!
So what’s the point of the land reclamation scheme?
The purpose is to restore the land to its former principle use and Partech are helping with the discharge monitoring on site. You can read more detail about Partech’s recent visit, here. (link to travels with David blog)
The site was formerly derelict, not to mention highly volatile and dangerous. So far, around 48 acres have been restored and by the end of the project, a massive 910 acres of land will be ready for upland grazing and safe community use. All of the urban common land in the planning application site boundary is set to be restored to urban common where a network of watercourses and drainage channels with small water features will be placed—mainly to water grazing animals. This is hoped to not only recreate habitats, but also to compliment the adjacent free drainage system already in place, which holds some archaeological significance.
Due to the location of Ffos-y-fran, there’s a massive rainfall catchment area and Miller Argent is left to cope with the run-off. The run-off is affected by the derelict land that has old, abandoned mines and coal extraction sites. The land has been classified as overburdened, meaning that the Taff Bargoed River has (with EA approval) been redirected to flow through the outer areas of the site to avoid any contamination etc.
Millar Argent are committed to protecting the environment and so the treatment and disposal of the water from the site has been carefully planned to enhance the environment. Therefore six large treatment areas were commissioned with a view to add another two in the future. The treatment areas are now equipped with online suspended solids, pH temperature and storm overflow monitoring systems from the Partech water instruments range.
Some of the products used are the Partech Turbi-Tech 2000LS Sensor for monitoring turbidity in effluent discharge, the Reference Method 2504D Total Suspended solids, and the WaterWatch2600 Mutli-Parameter. You can read more details of how they’re used, here.
In some areas of the site, power is no issue; but in others a lack of power raised alarm bells for Millar Argent. However, Partech were able to provide reassurance that the battery packs in their products would be more than enough to monitor the water and that they wouldn’t even need checking.
The systems are all carefully monitored by Partech headquarters so if there are any issues causing an alarm to be raised, or perhaps just a low battery signal the Partech team can immediately contact Millar Argent by email and text message!
Environmental Liaison Officer Kylie Jones commented: ‘We had to find a way of continuously monitoring discharge water and this was an area of technology in which we had very little knowledge. Since the first systems were installed and commissioned, the equipment has proved to be most reliable even during the most horrific winter conditions when the plant was unmanned.’
Partech water instruments are very advanced and the Turbi-Tech sensors require little maintenance as they feature an integral self-cleaning system—the retractable probes are set to a 60-minute cleaning regime.
The Partech equipment is near to the flocculation plant, which means that if pump operators are on site, there’s a really simple way of quickly checking plant performance with just the touch of a button! All of the information the Partech instruments gather is stored and archived to make it easily accessible for EA inspection.
Kylie Jones continued: ‘With a project this size, the management of the water treatment lagoons is one of the biggest challenges that we will have. We need to be confident in our water treatment plants and this equipment is giving us that confidence.’
So what are Partech doing now? Partech products have been used in the Ffos-y-fran site for several years and now they’re looking at upgrading the equipment. Keep checking back to read the latest updates on the project and how Partech are involved!