Does A Quarry Use Water Too?


If you are new to quarrying sites or just starting out in the industry, you may wonder why quarries seem filled with water so often and what happens to this water.  During the various operations and processes found within a quarry, there are many circumstances where water is a valuable resource. Here, we will look at how quarrying sites use water and how you as a quarry worker can think about optimising your own site’s water usage, reducing both wastage and environmental risks with help from Atlantic Pumps.

Why Quarries Focus On Water

Quarries have always used water in a multitude of ways, but in recent years the way in which water is used in quarrying and mining has come more into public scrutiny. Concerns over use of resources in general, climate change and an increase in extreme weather events have led to new legal and compliance requirements for the quarrying industry.  The 1991 Water Resources Act exempted quarries from having to obtain licensing for water abstraction and discharge, however this has changed with more recent regulatory updates. In practically every case, quarries must now hold an abstraction licence for both taking water from natural sources and a bespoke permit for discharging water back to the environment (dewatering process). Combined with a growing awareness among quarry site managers and owners of the importance of energy efficiency, how water is used is now a major focus of operators everywhere.

Why Are Quarries Filled With Water?

Quarrying sites are required to use large quantities of water in nearly every aspect of their operations. For example, you require high-pressure water for washing aggregate, cleaning vehicles and equipment and water-mist for reducing airborne dust.  Often, quarries become flooded by rain or surface water runoff so ‘Dewatering’ is also a regular ongoing procedure at many quarrying and mining sites.  Settlement ponds or lagoons are used to store water for quarry process utilization, or in the case of excess water, to control flood and pollution risks by keeping it separated from natural watercourses until it has been tested for purity.

Why Do Quarries Have Water?

Quarries have so many different water usages due to the nature of the processing work. Aggregate and Sand-washing for example, where sand must be cleaned for high quality end-product use.  This process utilises either site recycled or clear water for high-quality product that leaves site ready for its intended purpose.

Wheel and vehicle washes ensure that trucks leaving the site do not contaminate public roads.  Again, the wastewater from this must be tested and treated for clarity and environmental cleanliness before its controlled release.  Even naturally occurring minerals and silt is filtered, or settled out, so that water exiting the site does not affect the delicate balance of nature. 

With such complex processes, costs can quickly rise if water is not managed well.

Water Usage Reduction

In an increasingly energy-conscious world, every industry is looking to play its part in climate action, reducing its collective carbon footprint. Quarrying sites can continue to be leaders in sustainability by recycling more water, lowering the overall amount that is being abstracted or discharged.  Quarries can now proactively monitor the water flow and quality across the site and invest in energy-efficient quarry pumps, or other modern equipment that can reduce energy wastage and operating costs.

It is no secret that quarries use large volumes of water - however, quarry owners are known for embracing new technologies and better ways of working for ever greater energy savings and sustainability.  Atlantic Pumps are dedicated to working with mineral extraction and processing companies to help them continually improve their water resource management for economic and environmental sustainability. 

When you partner with Atlantic Pumps for your quarry equipment, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you are working with an ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Standard) and ISO 9001 (Quality Management) accredited organisation.