The Coal Authority

The Coal Authority provides expert advice and innovative solutions to resolve the public safety and environmental issues from coal and metal mining. They also regulate the coal industry in Britain and manage its long term mining legacies.

Summary of Works

Client: The Coal Authority
Start Date: May 2015
Completion Date: Ongoing
System:
• Rain gauges
• Piezometers
• V-notch weir systems
• Anemometers

In May 2015, following a competitive tender, ITM Monitoring, now SOCOTEC Monitoring UK Ltd, were appointed by the Coal Authority to supply, install and monitor a range of monitoring systems across disused coal tip sites in South Wales.

As part of the site requirements, we installed automated monitoring systems to measure rainfall, water flow in drainage features, water level in piezometer boreholes, and wind speed/direction at five disused coal tip sites across South Wales.

We developed a monitoring design plan for each of the five sites, which addressed specific individual site issues, such as the remote positioning of each site, which impacts mobile coverage as well as the frequency with which asset managers can visit the site. As part of the design plan development, we suggested appropriate recommendations for each onsite problem including appropriate sensor selection access/security/ mobile network coverage for remote data collection, and any health, safety and environmental considerations.

We installed roaming SIM cards in all data loggers and added high gain antennae to data loggers, and selected low cost, single channel individual loggers for each monitoring position to help strengthen mobile coverage across the sites.

Theft of monitoring systems is having an impact in many geotechnical site locations, with those in remote locations being particularly vulnerable. Part of our approach to theft prevention across the five sites was to install multiple single channel loggers to reduce visibility of any cross site cabling to centralized loggers. Loggers were also installed in secure enclosures or within fenced compounds erected by the Coal Authority’s civils contractor. By installing numerous discreet data loggers on each site, as opposed to a single centralized logger, it improves redundancy, as if one logger fails or is stolen the other loggers will still operate.
Committed to incorporating good safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) practices into all monitoring projects, the new automated systems have significant benefits to health and safety as it removes the requirement for an engineer to operate alone in remote locations. This also benefits the environment as the new automated systems reduces carbon footprint as engineers do not have to travel to sites to take readings.

Having successfully completed the monitoring system installs across the five sites the Coal Authority is considering monitoring other sites in a similar way.