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Noxious gas emissions from the closed iron mines to the built-up areas on the surface

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Abstract

A measurements campaign carried out in the iron basin of Lorraine (North-east of France) put the spot on the existence of under-oxygenated and noxious gas emissions in vast built-up areas related to former mining works. In 1999, following the Lorraine local office of the French Ministry of Industry, Research and Environment (DRIRE) request, INERIS (the French National Institute for Safety and Risks) started some investigations to assess the geographical extend of the problem. These studies brought to the fore the existence of noxious gas emissions in relation with former mining workings that were not completely submerged. High level CO2 content (up to 6 %) and low level O2 content (down to 13 %) have been measured. At the same time, the Institute for Radio-protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and the DAS S (a government organisation responsible to the national Ministry of Health) investigated and measured high level radon content (up to 15000 Bq/m3 ) in the gaseous mixture. In some cases, these emissions affected directly inhabited buildings that were shown to have a link with the mine entrances or with the old superficial mining works. The consequences of a CO2 enrichment and an O2 impoverishment on health are numerous. The seriousness depends on the contents of these two gases: it ranges from headaches for CO2 contents between 3 and 4 % and O2 content between 14 and 16 %, to death for O2 content lower than 6 % and CO2 higher than 10 % (Monomakhoff, 1978). Fortunately, the content in inhabited buildings of the investigated areas didn't look directly risky. However, in some cases, the measured contents were very close to the critical level for which harmful effects can appear by O2 deficit and CO2 excess. Concerning the radon, it acts essentially on lung epithelium to further the development of cancer in case of long - lasting exposure with content higher than 500 - 1000 Bq/m3 (Barrier and Lorentz, 2001). Apart from these clinical effects, the observed dysfunctioning of combustion appliances (boiler, gas cooker) due to CO2 polluted and under - oxygenated air are likely to increase the explosion and CO emission risks in concerned houses. These observations induced INERIS to carry on its investigation, in order to better understand the mechanism of the gaseous emanations and to find reliable solutions to this problem.
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ineris-00972426 , version 1 (03-04-2014)

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David Grabowski, Zbigniew Pokryszka. Noxious gas emissions from the closed iron mines to the built-up areas on the surface. Conference on Mine Closing "Technical / Ecological and Social Economics Aspects", May 2003, Szczyrk, Poland. ⟨ineris-00972426⟩

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