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The co-treatment of sewage and mine waters

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Karen Johnson


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A groundbreaking trial aerobic wetland has been built by Newcastle University at Birtley, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. The wetland is the first of its kind to treat both a mine water and a secondary sewage effluent together. Both of these discharges currently enter the River Team, a tributary of the River Tyne, and have a significant effect on its water quality. The total mine water and sewage water discharges to the river are ∼300L/S and 100L/s respectively and therefore the waters are being treated in this ratio at pilot-scale (25m × 25m). The main drivers for remediation are Fe (∼3mg/L in the mine water), BOD (∼14mg/L in the sewage water), N-NH3 (∼2mg/L in the sewage water), suspended solids (∼23mg/L in the sewage water) and PO4 (∼7mg/L in the sewage water). The combined treatment has many advantages over separate treatment of the discharges. The synergistic relationship between the two waters results in greater removal rates for all the main contaminants. Suspended solids in the sewage water encourage iron floccs to form and precipitate and may also enhance manganese removal. Phosphate, which is generally difficult to remove using either active or passive treatment is removed via sorption onto iron oxyhydroxide precipitates. In addition, the ochreous deposits provide numerous ideal sites for the attachment of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. Although the wetland is still immature, initial results suggest that co-treatment is highly successful. Effluent concentrations have consistently been lower than Environment Agency effluent design standards and removal rates for all parameters are likely to improve with time as both biological and microbiological communities become established.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Johnson K

Editor(s): Yong, R.N., Randolph Thomas, H.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Geoenvironmental Engineering: Integrated Management of Groundwater and Contaminated Land: Fourth British Geotechnical Association Conference

Year of Conference: 2005

Pages: 339-346

Publisher: London: Thomas Telford Ltd.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780727732774