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The use of waste materials in the passive remediation of mine water pollution

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paul Younger


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The contamination and resulting degradation of water courses by effluents from abandoned and active mines is a world-wide problem. Traditional methods of remediating the discharges from mines involve the addition of chemicals and the utilisation of artificial energy sources. Over the last 15-20 years passive treatment systems have been developed that harness natural chemical and biological processes to ameliorate the potentially toxic effects of such discharges. There are many different types of passive system, including compost wetlands, reducing and alkalinity producing systems (RAPS), permeable reactive barriers and inorganic media passive systems. Different waste materials can be utilised as reactive media within each of these systems, dependent upon the type of mine water and treatment technology. In many cases the reactivity of these recycled waste materials is key to the remedial performance of these systems. The materials used may be organic (e.g., composts) or inorganic (e.g., blast furnace slag) and where possible are sourced locally in order to minimise transport costs. The remediation of mine waters in itself can produce large quantities of waste products in the form of iron oxide sludge. Potential uses of this material in the production of pigments and in the treatment of phosphate contaminated waters is also currently under investigation. The exploitation of what are traditionally thought of as waste materials within treatment systems for polluted waters is an expanding technology which provides great scope for recycling. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Batty LC, Younger PL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Surveys in Geophysics

Year: 2004

Volume: 25

Issue: 1

Pages: 55-67

ISSN (print): 0169-3298

ISSN (electronic): 1573-0956

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1023/B:GEOP.0000015387.12390.ab


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