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    Communications Project


Document Type:Dissertation
Name:Harry Richard Diz
Email address:hrdiz@vt.edu
URN:1997/00206
Title:CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT OF ACID MINE DRAINAGE FOR THE REMOVAL OF HEAVY METALS AND ACIDITY
Degree:Doctor of Philosophy
Department:Civil Engineering
Committee Chair: John T. Novak
Chair's email:jtnov@vt.edu
Committee Members:
Keywords:iron biooxidation, iron precipitation, iron removal technology, acid mine drainage
Date of defense:August 11, 1997
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.

Abstract:

This dissertation reports the design of a process (patent pending) to remove iron from acid mine drainage (AMD) without the formation of metal hydroxide sludge. The system includes the oxidation of ferrous iron in a packed bed bioreactor, the precipitation of iron within a fluidized bed, the removal of manganese and heavy metals (Cu, Ni, Zn) in a trickling filter at high (>9) pH, with final neutralization in a carbonate bed. The technique avoided the generation of iron oxyhydroxide sludge. In the packed bed bioreactor, maximum substrate oxidation rate (R,max) was 1500 mg L-1 h-1 at dilution rates of 2 h-1, with oxidation efficiency at 98%. The half-saturation constant (similar to a Ks) was 6 mg L-1. The oxidation rate was affected by dissolved oxygen below 2 mg L-1, with a Monod-type Ko for DO of 0.33 mg L-1. Temperature had a significant effect on oxidation rate, but pH (2.0 to 3.25) and supplemental CO2 did not affect oxidation rates. Iron hydroxide precipitation was not instantaneous when base was added at a OH/Fe ratio of less than 3. Induction time was found to be a function of pH, sulfate concentration and iron concentration, with a multiple R2 of 0.84. Aqueous [Al (III)] and [Mn (II)] did not significantly (a = 0.05) affect induction time over the range of concentrations investigated. When specific loading to the fluidized bed reactor exceeded 0.20 mg Fe m-2 h-1, dispersed iron particulates formed leading to a turbid effluent. Reactor pH determined the minimum iron concentration in the effluent, with an optimal at pH 3.5. Total iron removals of 98% were achieved in the fluidized bed with effluent [Fe] below 10 mg L-1. Further iron removal occurred within the calcium carbonate bed. Heavy metals were removed both in the fluidized bed reactor as well as in the trickling filter. Oxidation at pH >9 caused manganese to precipitate (96% removal); removals of copper, nickel, and zinc were due primarily to sorption onto oxide surfaces. Removals averaged 97% for copper, 70% for nickel and 94% for zinc. The treatment strategy produced an effluent relatively free of iron (< 3 mg/L), without the formation of iron sludge and may be suitable for AMD seeps, drainage from acidic tailings ponds, active mine effluent, and acidic iron-rich industrial wastewater.

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