A new process utilizing pulsed fluidized limestone beds was tested for the remediation of acid mine drainage at the Friendship Hill National Historic Site, in southwestern Pennsylvania. A 230 liter-per-minute treatment system was constructed and operated over a fourteen-month period from June 2000 through September 2001. Over this period of time, 50,000 metric tons of limestone were used to treat 50 million liters of water. The influent water pH was 2.5 and acidity was 1000 mg/L as CaCO3. Despite the high potential for armoring at the site, effluent pH during normal plant operation ranged from 5.7 to 7.8 and averaged 6.8. As a result of the high influent acidity, sufficient CO2 was generated and recycled to provide a net alkaline discharge with about 50 mg/L as CaCO3 alkalinity. Additions of commercial CO2 increased effluent alkalinity to as high as 300 mg/L, and could be a useful process management tool for transient high flows or acidities. Metal removal rates were 95% for aluminum (60 mg/L in influent), 50 to 90% for iron (Fe), depending on the ratio of ferrous to ferric iron, which varied seasonally (200 mg/L in influent), and <10% of manganese (Mn) (10 mg/L in influent). Ferrous iron and Mn removal was incomplete because of the high pH required for precipitation of these species. Iron removal could be improved by increased aeration following neutralization, and Mn removal could be effected by a post treatment passive settling/oxidation pond. Metal hydroxide sludges were settled in settling tanks, and then hauled from the site for aesthetic purposes. Over 450 metric tons of sludge were removed from the water over the life of the project. The dried sludge was tested by the Toxicity Characteristics Leaching Protocol (TCLP) and was found to be non-hazardous. Treatment costs were $43,000 per year and $1.08 per m 3, but could be decreased to $22,000 and $0.51 per m3 by decreasing labor use and by onsite sludge handling. These results confirm the utility of the new process in treatment of acid impaired waters that were previously not amenable to low cost limestone treatment.
Additional publication details
Remediation of acid mine drainage at the friendship hill national historic site with a pulsed limestone bed process
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the TMS Fall Extraction and Processing Conference
Hydrometallurgy 2003: Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium