The rehabilitation of WISMUT’s former Ronneburg uranium mining site involves backfilling of waste rock to the Lichtenberg open pit. The relocation project comprises about 110 million m3 of sulphide-bearing and AMD-generating waste rock which makes it the most important and most cost-intensive single surface restoration project conducted by WISMUT at the Ronneburg site. The backfilled waste rock has to be covered on an area of about 220 ha to control water infiltration and gas diffusion. Design planning for the final cover placement which began in 2004 had to be based on a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis as well on field tests of alternative cover options which are in compliance with legal requirements. An intensive testing program concerning the vadose zone of soil covers has therefore been started in 2000. The paper presents an overview of the monitoring program and the results of the vadose zone measurements. The water of soil covers have to be predicted for extended evaluation periods. Therefore water balance simulations of single layer covers (storage and evaporation concept) taking current and future soil and climate conditions into account are performed with the HYDRUS_2D code.

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