What is it about?

The performance of passive biochemical reactors in acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment could be enhanced by using fine organic substrates in new reactor designs, such as diffusive exchange reactors. This work evaluated the effect of fine cellulosic components in organic mixtures and of enrichment with inoculum, on sulfate and metals removal in discontinuous cultures for three types of synthetic AMD. The cellulosic substrates evaluated were sawdust, microcrystalline cellulose, and forestry cellulose fibers, supplemented with cow manure and leaf compost. Using microcrystalline cellulose and forestry cellulose fibers with the less concentrated AMD, high sulfate reduction rates (73 mg/L-d and 58.2 mg/L-d, respectively) were achieved. Correspondingly, iron concentrations were reduced by 69% and 86.6%. Based on their higher sulfate reducing capacity, cellulose fibers obtained as fiber boards from a local kraft pulp mill were selected for treating a synthetic AMD with a high copper concentration (273 mg/L) and pH 4.94. In batch culture, low sulfate reducing activity (13.10 mg/L-d) was only observed at the highest substrate/AMD ratio (0.5:10) tested.

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Why is it important?

Results show that the use of forestry cellulose fibers in reactive mixtures supplemented with inoculum could be an alternative for optimization of diffusive exchange reactors for AMD treatment.


I hope this article makes people more concern about environmental problems of mining and the technological solutions that may be developped being an opportunity for future generations.

Dr Johannes P.F. de Bruijn
Universidad de Concepcion

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This page is a summary of: Evaluation of fine organic mixtures for treatment of acid mine drainage in sulfidogenic reactors, Water Science & Technology, October 2018, IWA Publishing, DOI: 10.2166/wst.2018.452.
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