Biological treatment of heavy metals in acid mine drainage using sulfate reducing bioreactors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The uncontrolled release of acid mine drainage (AMD) from abandoned mines and tailing piles threatens water resources in many sites worldwide. AMD introduces elevated concentrations of sulfate ions and dissolved heavy metals as well as high acidity levels to groundwater and receiving surface water. Anaerobic biological processes relying on the activity of sulfate reducing bacteria are being considered for the treatment of AMD and other heavy metal containing effluents. Biogenic sulfides form insoluble complexes with heavy metals resulting in their precipitation. The objective of this study was to investigate the remediation of AMD in sulfate reducing bioreactors inoculated with anaerobic granular sludge and fed with an influent containing ethanol. Biological treatment of an acidic (pH 4.0) synthetic AMD containing high concentrations of heavy metals (100 mg Cu2+l-1; 10 mg Ni2+l-1, 10 mg Zn2+l-1) increased the effluent pH level to 7.0-7.2 and resulted in metal removal efficiencies exceeding 99.2%. The highest metal precipitation rates attained for Cu, Ni and Zn averaged 92.5, 14.6 and 15.8 mg metal l-1 of reactor d-1. The results of this work demonstrate that an ethanol-fed sulfidogenic reactor was highly effective to remove heavy metal contamination and neutralized the acidity of the synthetic wastewater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalWater Science and Technology
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Fingerprint

acid mine drainage
Bioreactors
bioreactor
Heavy metals
Drainage
heavy metal
sulfate
Acids
Acidity
acidity
Effluents
ethanol
metal
Ethanol
Metals
Abandoned mines
effluent
abandoned mine
Tailings
sulfate-reducing bacterium

Keywords

  • Copper
  • Metal precipitation
  • Nickel
  • Sulfate reducing bacteria
  • Sulfide
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Biological treatment of heavy metals in acid mine drainage using sulfate reducing bioreactors. / Sierra Alvarez, Maria Reye; Karri, S.; Freeman, S.; Field, James A.

In: Water Science and Technology, Vol. 54, No. 2, 2006, p. 179-185.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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