Geamana – the village flooded by a toxic lake


         Once, Geamăna was a village in the Apuseni Mountains. Now is covered almost entirely by waste from the copper career from Rosia Poieni. Locals were forced to move away from year to year above the center of the village, to escape the invasion of tailing dam that in time covered their church, their cemetery, the dam just swallowed them.
         The changing of the area began in 1977, when Nicolae Ceausescu decided to release copper exploitation at Rosia Poieni. At that time it was the largest in Europe. At first, residents of about 400 homes have imagined perhaps that will enrich, but it was not like that. In the early 1980s, were expropriated by the Romanian state over 300 families in Geamăna. The amounts received were based on the properties. In 1986, when tailing began to be discharged, over 1,000 people lived here. Now the houses of the locals there, scattered along a few miles around the lake where reaches the tailings from copper career still live about 20 souls. Remaining houses were placed above on the hill.
         License for exploitation in Rosia Poieni copper company belongs to Cuprumin Abrud. The latest assessment of the Ministry of Environment shows that the area would require environmental investments worth 15 million euros. Integrated environmental authorization issued by the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection Sibiu tailings and waste dumps from the extraction, processing expired at the end of 2011. Before the revolution, copper mine in Rosia Poieni had 3,000 employees working . Now are 200 employees. They tried the privatization of the Apuseni society, in March 2012, but it failed.
         Dam from Geamana has an area of about 130 ha. Tailings resulting from the copper mine from Rosia Poieni is spilled in Sesia Valley, which was once the village Geamăna. Reservoir exploitation began in 1978, and copper production in 1983. Is a pond valley opened with a single dam built of rocks. Water passing underneath the dump and get the pond has a pH between 1.5 to 2, the colors of metals (Cu, Fe, Cr, Zn, As, Mn, etc.). A toxic substance found out in the tailings dam at Geamana is cadmium that exceedes even ten times the normal values. “Cadmium is possibly carcinogenic, can cause mutations harmful to plants and animals, at humans affects the liver, kidneys and lungs.” says Ioana Laura Melente a researcher.
         “I worked as a geologist in the pond in 2005-2006 under investigation project to rebuild the area,” says Mr Florin Stoican. “I supervised the drilling achievement even in the dam body, plus other studies. Then raised the issue of closure, meanwhile, the price of copper rose, mine was privatized and resumed work, so the project was put in the drawer recovery.
There is no water treatment, and after simple settling, the water goes through a reverse probe directly into Aries, where the confluence effect is visible. Basically, meteoric water in contact with hundreds of millions of tons of metal sulfides in heaps and ponds decompose mainly sulfuric acid and heavy metals. Water passing underneath the dump and get the pond has a pH between 1.5 to 2, the colors of metals (Cu, Fe, Cr, Zn, As, Mn, etc.).
The only treatment made, which takes control acidity, is mine flotation station, where lime is added with sterile mud, which is deposited in the pond. That, along with monitoring and alternate discharge zones (inverse probe system) keep the dam up that way, being built of limestone, would be dissolved and taken by acid waters. Paradoxically, although the lake grow, as long as mine works, is safe, but if they stop work, they should continue at least neutralize acidity and invers probe(wells) operation that keep away the water from the dam.
In the Apuseni areas and Maramures, the main mining areas strongly affected by erratic and sometimes pointless, there are about 300 hotspots (ponds, landfills, quarries, underground galleries), which would require urgent measures implementing safety and environmental remediation, most of them being abandoned. “

         In the Apuseni Mountains are 24 ponds. Sesei Valley lake with two smaller (Stefancei I and II) and dumps from Geamana which are the waste deposits from Rosia Poieni quarrie. It is the largest lake in Europe (more than 130 million tons of sterile) of the largest European quarrie.


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