Red mud dam groundwater monitoring

20 October 2022


In August this year, HydroTerra returned to sunny Gladstone to continue work with Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL), monitoring its groundwater bore network.  HydroTerra has been working with QAL since 2015, making quarterly visits. Our work during this trip focused on the Residue Disposal Area (RDA) or Red Mud Dam. The RDA is the final destination for the waste product produced during the Bayer process of alumina production. During the alumina refining process bauxite ore is digested with sodium hydroxide. The resulting red mud can have a pH of nearly 10 and can pose an environmental risk if not stored properly. A regular groundwater monitoring program is necessary to ensure that the storage dam is effective and safe.

Our work uses technology supplied by our key partners, Solinst and YSI. The reliability, functionality and durability of the Solinst 410 Peristaltic Pump, our workhorse at QAL, allows us to sample effectively at low flow volumes across the site. At only 3.3 kg, the Solinst 410 Peristaltic Pump is easily transported to all bores, including those not accessible by vehicle. It is also very easy to use, with minimal set up time.  This allows us to work more efficiently, reducing our time onsite, making our sampling trips more cost effective for QAL.