Acid mine drainage

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Abstract

Acid mine drainage (AMD) consists of metal-laden solutions produced by the oxidative dissolution of iron sulfide minerals exposed to air, moisture, and acidophilic microbes during the mining of coal and metal deposits. The pH of AMD is usually in the range of 2–6, but mine-impacted waters at circumneutral pH (5–8) are also common. Mine drainage usually contains elevated concentrations of sulfate, iron, aluminum, and other potentially toxic metals leached from rock that hydrolyze and coprecipitate to form rust-colored encrustations or sediments. When AMD is discharged into surface waters or groundwaters, degradation of water quality, injury to aquatic life, and corrosion or encrustation of engineered structures can occur for substantial distances. Prevention and remediation strategies should consider the biogeochemical complexity of the system, the longevity of AMD pollution, the predictive power of geochemical modeling, and the full range of available field technologies for problem mitigation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Acid mine drainage
DOI 10.1081/E-ESS3-120053867
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group
Contributing office(s) Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Encyclopedia of Soil Science, Third Edition
First page 6
Last page 10