The shear strength and consolidation characteristics of colliery tailings were related to the structure of the lagoon deposits. First, a theoretical investigation of vane shear tests in layered media is outlined, and then cone penetration tests are considered as an alternative tool for measuring strengths in situ. The geochemistry and sedimentology of colliery lagoons were investigated. The in-situ permeability of lagoons was also investigated and the results used to investigate the drainage characteristics. Finally, overtipping was investigated.