Assessment of the ecological potential of mine-water treatment wetlands using a baseline survey of macroinvertebrate communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



A baseline survey of macroinvertebrate populations in two mine-water treatment wetlands, one treating a net acidic spoil heap discharge and one a net alkaline ferruginous pumped mine water, was undertaken to assess the potential of these systems to provide habitats for faunal communities. Both wetlands were found to be impoverished in comparison to natural wetlands but did sustain a macroinvertebrate community that could support higher organisms. Wetland size and water quality in terms of pH, conductivity and metal concentrations were found to be important factors in determining the quality of the populations supported. Direct toxicity to organisms was unlikely to be the main cause of lower diversity, but the smothering of organisms via the precipitation of iron hydroxides particularly in the early parts of the treatment systems affected macroinvertebrate communities. The presence of areas of open water within the planted systems was found to be important for providing habitats for macroinvertebrates and this should be both a future design and maintenance consideration for environmental managers.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-419
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


  • environmental management, constructed wetlands, macroinvertebrates, mine water pollution