Armoring of limestone is a common cause of failure in limestone-based acid-mine drainage (AMD) treatment systems. Limestone is the least expensive material available for acid neutralization, but is not typically recommended for highly acidic, Fe-rich waters due to armoring with Fe(III) oxyhydroxide coatings. A new AMD treatment technology that uses CO2 in a pulsed limestone bed reactor minimizes armor formation and enhances limestone reaction with AMD. Limestone was characterized before and after treatment with constant flow and with the new pulsed limestone bed process using AMD from an inactive coal mine in Pennsylvania (pH = 2.9, Fe = 150 mg/l, acidity = 1000 mg/l CaCO3). In constant flow experiments, limestone is completely armored with reddish-colored ochre within 48 h of contact in a fluidized bed reactor. Effluent pH initially increased from the inflow pH of 2.9 to over 7, but then decreased to <4 during the 48 h of contact. Limestone grains developed a rind of gypsum encapsulated by a 10- to 30-??m thick, Fe-Al hydroxysulfate coating. Armoring slowed the reaction and prevented the limestone from generating any additional alkalinity in the system. With the pulsed flow limestone bed process, armor formation is largely suppressed and most limestone grains completely dissolve resulting in an effluent pH of > 6 during operation. Limestone removed from a pulsed bed pilot plant is a mixture of unarmored, rounded and etched limestone grains and partially armored limestone and refractory mineral grains (dolomite, pyrite). The ???30% of the residual grains in the pulsed flow reactor that are armored have thicker (50- to 100-??m), more aluminous coatings and lack the gypsum rind that develops in the constant flow experiment. Aluminium-rich zones developed in the interior parts of armor rims in both the constant flow and pulsed limestone bed experiments in response to pH changes at the solid/solution interface. ?? 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Additional Publication Details
Characterization of limestone reacted with acid-mine drainage in a pulsed limestone bed treatment system at the Friendship Hill National Historical Site, Pennsylvania, USA