Water infiltration through coal stocks exposed to weather elements represents a key issue for many old mining sites and coal-fired power plants from the environmental point of view, considering the negative impact on human health of the deriving groundwater, soil and air pollution. Within this context, the paper investigates the hydraulic behaviour of a self-weight compacted unsaturated coal mass and its impact on the numerical prediction of infiltration induced by rainfall events. In particular, the work focuses on the experimental investigation carried out at different representative scales, from the grain scale to physical modelling. The material, when starting from uncompacted conditions, seems to be characterized by metastable structure, which tends to collapse under imbibition. In addition, direct numerical predictions of the seepage regime through a partially saturated coal mass have been performed. As the compaction of the coal stock induced by dozers has not been taken into account, the numerical simulations represent a conservative approach for the assessment of chemical pollution hazard associated to water infiltration into a real stockpile under operational conditions.