GATAČKO POLJE  -  ГАТАЧКО ПОЉЕ
.The Devon Karst Research Society.
The Karstography of the DINARIC KARST IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Part 5.3.  Eastern Herzegovina.
GATAČKO POLJE  -  ГАТАЧКО ПОЉЕ
Gacko Polje, BiH-RS Trebinje Region - Gacko Municipality.
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Updated 22 May 2007.
[Under initial construction]
GP Section 9.0B. Webpage Contents :

Minerals Extraction (opposite) :
Minerals Processing :
Karst Environmental Contamination :

Click on the underlined Links..above to move down to the Sections more quickly.

Section 9.0B.    ANTHROPOGENIC  IMPACT -  ANTROPOGENSKI  UDAR  -  АНТРОПОГЕНСКИ  УДАР :
MINERALS AND MINERAL EXTRACTION :

MINERALS EXTRACTION IN GATAČKO POLJE = KARST ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION :
An extremely large excavation exists in the northern part of the Great Polje area. This is the open-cast lignite mine that feeds low quality fuel to the Gacko Thermo-electric Power station, TE Gacko I. This mine also produces bauxite.


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Gacko opencast mine is situated in the north-east part of Eastern Herzegovina in the Republic of Srpska Territory of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The lignite is of Tertiary Neogene age and is preserved in an elongate NW-SE trending synclinal basin surrounded by limestone of Cretaceous age. The basin is fault bounded, with the north-eastern limb of the syncline containing the bulk of the low-quality lignite reserves.
Mining the lignite has proved difficult in terms of equipment performance and in maintaining quality consistency in the coal product. The lignite is for sole use in the neighbouring 300MW Gacko I. Thermo-electric Power Plant and the required annual production output is 1.8Mtpa.
Geological complications such as hard cemented overburden and limestone interbeds within the principal coal section have hindered mining and caused extensive wear on equipment. For a number of years financial constraints have meant that the mine has been under-capitalised with poor maintenance and few spare parts. In order to re-vitalize the mine and to guarantee supplies of acceptable quality lignite to the Power Plant for 20 years, the method of mining has been reviewed and a new reserve area targeted for future exploitation. It remains to be seen whether a more responsible management-regime will ever materialize in the future within the Company to instigate better control of the overall environmental effects of this antiquated and highly-polluting industrial activity. 


Photo GP9B.1.  A view of the large open-cast mining pit in the "Veliko Polje" area south of Gacko.
In the centre-left of the view can be seen the Thermo-electric Power Station TE Gacko I.
(Photo :  B. Lewarne, 22 July 2004.)


The view given in Photo. GP10.1..(left) can be seen in greater context by clicking on the Link below which will initiate
a short MPEG 1. Video File :-

Video Link GP9B.2.
A dynamic view of the large open-cast mining pit in the "Veliko Polje" area south of Gacko.
(60 seconds; 1.3 MB.)
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Photos GP9B.3., GP9B.4., GP9B.5. and GP9B.6...(above).
A typical filthy day in Gatačko Polje!..Views of the large open-cast mining pit in the "Veliko Polje" area south of Gacko.
In the background of each of the views on the left is the looming presence of the tall chimney stack of TE Gacko I. Power Station belching forth a plume of alkaline ash from the power station's furnaces.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 19 August 2006.)

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Gatačko Polje -  Гатачко  Поље MINERALS PROCESSING IN GATAČKO POLJE = KARST ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION :
A large unlined area of the Great Polje has been turned over to the purposes of Minerals Storage and Minerals Processing. This material originates from the excavation of the principal mining pit and as a by-product of coal extraction.

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Photos GP9B.7. and GP9B.8.
Views of minerals storage and processing operations near the Velika Gradina area in the south side of the "Veliko Polje".
Note the attractive small residual limestone hill (Engl. = small Hum; Srpski = Humac) dwarfed by the growing mountain of minerals.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 19 August 2006.)

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Gatačko Polje -  Гатачко  Поље

THE POLLUTED RIJEKA MUŠNICA
(All Photos :  Igor Trklja, 02 Sept. 2007.)


Photo GP9B.19.
A view of the Rijeka Mušnica at its confluence with Potok "Oko",
flowing in from the left, downstream of all the heavy industry.
 


Photo GP9B.20.
A view of the Rijeka Mušnica at its confluence with Potok "Oko",
flowing in from the left, downstream of all the heavy industry.
 


Photo GP9B.21.
A view of the water quality of the Rijeka Mušnica flowing into
Gatačko (Malo) Polje near Srđevići.
 


Photo GP9B.22.
A view of the Rijeka Mušnica flowing into Gatačko (Malo) Polje
near VS. Srđevići.
 


Photo GP9B.23.
A view of the Rijeka Mušnica flowing into Gatačko (Malo) Polje
downstream of the Srđevići road bridge.

Equation,[Termoelektrana Gacko I. [Minerals Extraction + Minerals Processing]x = Air-borne Pollutionx + Water-borne Pollutionx.
LEADING TO WIDESPREAD KARST ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION, Downwind and Downstream........

Example of Evidence :
ПОНОРНИЦE МУШНИЦА - PONORNICE MUŠNICA - SINKING RIVER MUŠNICA  и / i / and
ПОТОК ОКО - POTOK OKO - THE OKO STREAM :
The following set of images compares the visual appearance of the River Mušnica at Avtovac in the Gatačko (Veliko) Polje, upstream of the heavy industrial complexes of Gacko, with that near Srđevići, as it nears and then enters the Gatačko (Malo) Polje, containing one of the largest ponor zones in Eastern Herzegovina.

According to Milanović (2006)*, this ponor zone from the Srđevići Ponor (Ponor "Jama), which absorbs 60m³ / sec., to the Šabanov Ponor, the total absorption capacity of the ponor zone is 160m³ / sec.
With the water goes all the filth and sediment from the industry in Gatačko (Veliko) Polje. Where does it go? At the Srđevici Ponor Zone and the Bašići Ponor Zones, it goes directly into Cerničko Polje, then into Fatničko Polje and finally into the River Trebišjnica near Bileća. Nearer the terminal ponor zone at the Šabanov Ponor, it goes directly into the River Trebišjnica near Bileća.
From Bileća, the contaminated River Trebišjnica flows down through Trebinje, partly contaminating Mokro Polje en route before entering Popovo Polje, where it variously sinks into ponors feeding the Vrelo "Ombla" Spring at Dubrovnik and various other karst springs along the Croatian Littoral, before discharging into the Adriatic Sea.
But we haven't finished yet .......
At the very end of Popovo Polje, there is the terminal Ponikve Ponor (and others before it), which when absorbing excess water from the regulated streambed of the River Trebišjnica, will deliver the contaminated water directly into the karst springs located in the Svitavsko-Deransko Depression. This ends up in the River Neretva before being finally discharged into the Adriatic Sea.
The water that is taken in from the Popovo Polje "Reservoir" (=the Hutovo Compensation Basin) at the end of the regulated streambed of the River Trebišjnica by the HET Čapljina, also ends up in the River Neretva before being finally discharged into the Adriatic Sea.

[Warning! You may find some of the following images too shocking to bear.]

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Photos GP9B.9. and GP9B.10.
Views of Rijeka Mušnica from the Bridge at Avtovac, (left view- Upstream and right view- Downstream) in the Gatačko (Veliko-Gornje) Polje".
Note the clear, clean water at this point along the rivercourse upstream of all the heavy industry.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 02 September 2006.)

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Photos GP9B.11. and GP9B.12.
Views of Potok Oko upstream of its confluence with Rijeka Mušnica in the Gatačko (Veliko-Donje) Polje".
Note the brown turbid water at this point along the rivercourse downstream of all the heavy industry.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 02 September 2006.)

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Photos GP9B.13a. and GP9B.13b.
Two views of the same location of the Rijeka Mušnica at its confluence with Potok "Oko" flowing in from the left in both views, downstream of all the heavy industry, near Srđevići at the entrance to the Gatačko (Malo) Polje".
Note that the left-side view was taken in 22 July 2004., whilst the right-side view was recorded on 02 September 2006.
Note the clear water at this point along both rivercourses only in the left view and what has since become the permanent situation of contaminated water in both rivers in the right view.
The different colours represent different mineral contaminants.
[Photos :  B. Lewarne (left) and Igor Trklja (right.)]

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Photos GP9B.14. and GP9B.15.
Two more views of the Rijeka Mušnica flowing into Gatačko (Malo) Polje near Srđevići, downstream of all the heavy industry.
Note the disgusting colour of the water at this point as it enters the Srđevići Ponor Zone.
(Photos :  Igor Trklja, 02 September 2006.)

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Photos GP9B.16. and GP9B.17.
Two more views of the highly contaminated Rijeka Mušnica near Srđevići at the entrance to the Gatačko (Malo) Polje".
The left-side view is looking upstream from the road bridge near Srđevići, whilst the right-side view is taken at the HET Co. VS Srđevići guaging station, downstream of the bridge.
(Photos :  Igor Trklja, 02 September 2006.)


 
 
 
 

Photos GP9B.18...(left)
A view of the Rijeka Mušnica at the entrance to the Gatačko (Malo) Polje by the road bridge near Srđevići.
(Photos :  Igor Trklja, 02 September 2006.)
 

During our visit in September 2006., we were informed by residents in Gatačko Polje of the destruction of Izvor "Oko" at selo Muhović in 1985.
This hydrological feature, a natural fresh-water spring, became totally buried beneath a mountain of "laporec" (=marl), a by-product of the mining operations.
(The position of this feature can be seen on the Gatačko Polje Maps Link Page, Map GPM1.)

Imagine the effects that this is having on the already endangered endemic hypogean fauna of the karst underground of Eastern Herzegovina!
This is dealt with in other Sections of the Society's Webpages.
 
 

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