A Human Friendly Method Of Treating Acid Mine Drainage

1013 words - 5 pages

The worldwide problem of acid mine drainage causes harm to waterways, plants, animals, and even humans. Acid mine drainage is water with a high acidity content that originates from water coming in contact with highly acidic-bearing materials in rocks. Those rocks are common in mining regions, which is why acid mine drainage is such a problem for those locations, including the coal mining region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The water affected by acid mine drainage becomes yellow or orange in color due to the presence of dissolved iron in the oxygen-rich water and the water reeks of sulfur. The water from acid mine drainage has a high pH level and can be dangerous if it comes in contact with ...view middle of the document...

The major passive systems are aerobic wetlands, anaerobic wetlands, alkalinity producing systems, anoxic limestone drains, limestone ponds, and open limestone channels. Of these passive systems, aerobic and anaerobic wetlands are the types of systems that are most efficient, as they can be used for most waterways, no matter their water flow rate or capacity. The wetlands are relatively cheap, costing as little as $15 per square meter in some cases (Skousen, Overview of Passive Systems for Treating Acid Mine Drainage). Passive wetlands are usually implemented in such a way that they do not interfere with activities that may occur in that water, such as swimming, boating, fishing, etc. and humans could safely resume their activities as the water is gradually cleaned more and more. A passive wetland system could be greatly improved by including a magnet in the flow of the body of water (or in the case of still water, multiple magnets placed throughout). The magnet would attract all of the heavy harmful metals that are sometimes left behind in basic chemical and passive treatment. The chemicals could be collected in the magnet and then properly disposed of, rather than just pollute the waterway. Magnetized wetland systems could gradually clean up waterways affected by acid mine drainage in an efficient manner that
Magnetized wetland systems would be very beneficial to humans because of the environmental benefits they would provide and the efficient, safe cleanup of acid mine drainage they would provide. In chemical treatment, specific chemicals must be ordered for the specific conditions of the waterway. There is no best chemical for this treatment method, as different factors must be considered to decide which chemical would be used for each specific waterway. These factors include acidity levels, flow rate, types and concentrations of metals, the rate and degree of chemical treatment, and the desired final water quality (Skousen, Hilton and Faulkner, Overview of Acid Mine Drainage Treatment with Chemicals). The amounts of chemicals needed must be...

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