A post audit for a reactive transport model used to evaluate acid mine drainage treatment systems is presented herein. The post audit is based on a paired synoptic approach in which hydrogeochemical data are collected at low (existing conditions) and elevated (following treatment) pH. Data obtained under existing, low-pH conditions are used for calibration, and the resultant model is used to predict metal concentrations observed following treatment. Predictions for Al, As, Fe, H+, and Pb accurately reproduce the observed reduction in dissolved concentrations afforded by the treatment system, and the information provided in regard to standard attainment is also accurate (predictions correctly indicate attainment or nonattainment of water quality standards for 19 of 25 cases). Errors associated with Cd, Cu, and Zn are attributed to misspecification of sorbent mass (precipitated Fe). In addition to these specific results, the post audit provides insight in regard to calibration and sensitivity analysis that is contrary to conventional wisdom. Steps taken during the calibration process to improve simulations of As sorption were ultimately detrimental to the predictive results, for example, and the sensitivity analysis failed to bracket observed metal concentrations.
Additional publication details
Evaluating remedial alternatives for an acid mine drainage stream: a model post audit