Final Report: Sulfide Size and Morphology Identificaiton for Remediation of Acid Producing Mine Wastes

EPA Grant Number: R825549C026
Subproject: this is subproject number 026 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825549
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (1989) - Great Plains/Rocky Mountain HSRC
Center Director: Erickson, Larry E.
Title: Sulfide Size and Morphology Identificaiton for Remediation of Acid Producing Mine Wastes
Investigators: Dollhopf, Douglas J. , Jennings, Stuart R. , Neuman, Dennis
Institution: Montana State University - Bozeman
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: November 1, 1990 through February 21, 1992
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (1989) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Heavy Metal Contamination of Soil/Water , Land and Waste Management

Objective:

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the influence of sulfide size, morphology and crystalline variability on mineral weatherability in different geochemical environments. Additionally, the acid production characteristics of minerals other than pyrite were assessed and related to chemical analyses commonly used to characterize mine site potential acidity. Further, demonstration was provided to illustrate the importance of mineralogical characterization of potentially acid producing materials during site remediation.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

The generation of acid as a consequence of sulfide mineral oxidation, dominantly as pyrite, is a widespread source of environmental quality degradation. Pyrite is a common mineral in both coal and hardrock mining environments, requiring the mitigation of acid generated upon exposure of pyrite to oxidizing conditions as a consequence of mining activity. Potential errors resulting from inaccurate prediction of acid generation, threaten the success of remedial efforts costing tens of millions of dollars annually.

Investigation of acid production processes was accomplished through collection of sulfide materials from operational coal and hardrock mines. Subsequently, pure sulfide minerals derived from mining environments were oxidized in the laboratory with hydrogen peroxide while monitoring the geochemical response.

The effect of pyrite physical property variation exerted the dominant control on rate of oxidation compared to pyrite surface area. Massive morphology pyrite particles were found to be significantly more acid generating than the euhedral morphology samples of the same particle size when submitted to the identical treatment. Massive morphology pyrite had the greatest density of defect in the crystalline lattice resulting from the presence of atomic defects, impurities, inclusions, edges, steps and microcracks. Crystals having the greatest density of defect had the greatest reactive surface area and consequently the greatest rate of oxidation.

The analysis of samples containing acid forming minerals by acid-base account (ABA) methodology and calculation of potential acidity does not consider the rate of mineral oxidation, thereby neglecting an important factor controlling the environmental consequences of sulfide oxidation. Acid-base account also failed to accurately characterize the acid producing and nonacid producing minerals present in a sample. The mining environment sulfur bearing minerals baste, anhydrite, gypsum, anglesite, jarosite, chalcocite and galena were found to be non-acid forming. The minerals pyrite, marcasite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite were found to be acid forming. Upon subjecting these same minerals to ABA analytical methods, the acid forming and nonacid forming minerals were not accurately distinguished. For example, baste is a nonacid forming sulfate mineral and chalcopyrite is an acid forming sulfide mineral, and both were counted in the same sulfur fraction by ABA methods. Since the sulfur attributed to barite and chalcopyrite is not differentiated error to ABA calculation will occur resulting in application of either too much, or too little, liming material.

Therefore, mineralogical characterization of the sulfur bearing minerals in a sample can greatly increase the accuracy of remedial design for treatment of acid producing mine wastes. Mineralogical identification, particle morphology determination and mineral dissolution behavior can all be assessed by scanning electron microscope (SEM) examination of mineral samples from mining environments. The result of improved geochemical and mineralogical characterization will be more effective remediation of Iand and water impacted by acid producing mine wastes.

Technology Transfer: The results have been presented to interested professionals.

Supplemental Keywords:

sulfide, morphology, mine wastes, acid production., Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, Geochemistry, Fate & Transport, Analytical Chemistry, Bioremediation, Ecology and Ecosystems, fate and transport, contaminant transport, migration, acid mine drainage, biodegradation, pesticides, contaminated sediment, adsorption, biotechnology, contaminants in soil, bioremediation of soils, chemical kinetics, acid rock drainage (ARD), heavy metal contamination, phytoremediation, mining waste, contaminated soils

Relevant Websites:

http://www.engg.ksu.edu/HSRC Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1991

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825549    HSRC (1989) - Great Plains/Rocky Mountain HSRC

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825549C006 Fate of Trichloroethylene (TCE) in Plant/Soil Systems
    R825549C007 Experimental Study of Stabilization/Solidification of Hazardous Wastes
    R825549C008 Modeling Dissolved Oxygen, Nitrate and Pesticide Contamination in the Subsurface Environment
    R825549C009 Vadose Zone Decontamination by Air Venting
    R825549C010 Thermochemical Treatment of Hazardous Wastes
    R825549C011 Development, Characterization and Evaluation of Adsorbent Regeneration Processes for Treament of Hazardous Waste
    R825549C012 Computer Method to Estimate Safe Level Water Quality Concentrations for Organic Chemicals
    R825549C013 Removal of Nitrogenous Pesticides from Rural Well-Water Supplies by Enzymatic Ozonation Process
    R825549C014 The Characterization and Treatment of Hazardous Materials from Metal/Mineral Processing Wastes
    R825549C015 Adsorption of Hazardous Substances onto Soil Constituents
    R825549C016 Reclamation of Metal and Mining Contaminated Superfund Sites using Sewage Sludge/Fly Ash Amendment
    R825549C017 Metal Recovery and Reuse Using an Integrated Vermiculite Ion Exchange - Acid Recovery System
    R825549C018 Removal of Heavy Metals from Hazardous Wastes by Protein Complexation for their Ultimate Recovery and Reuse
    R825549C019 Development of In-situ Biodegradation Technology
    R825549C020 Migration and Biodegradation of Pentachlorophenol in Soil Environment
    R825549C021 Deep-Rooted Poplar Trees as an Innovative Treatment Technology for Pesticide and Toxic Organics Removal from Soil and Groundwater
    R825549C022 In-situ Soil and Aquifer Decontaminaiton using Hydrogen Peroxide and Fenton's Reagent
    R825549C023 Simulation of Three-Dimensional Transport of Hazardous Chemicals in Heterogeneous Soil Cores Using X-ray Computed Tomography
    R825549C024 The Response of Natural Groundwater Bacteria to Groundwater Contamination by Gasoline in a Karst Region
    R825549C025 An Electrochemical Method for Acid Mine Drainage Remediation and Metals Recovery
    R825549C026 Sulfide Size and Morphology Identificaiton for Remediation of Acid Producing Mine Wastes
    R825549C027 Heavy Metals Removal from Dilute Aqueous Solutions using Biopolymers
    R825549C028 Neutron Activation Analysis for Heavy Metal Contaminants in the Environment
    R825549C029 Reducing Heavy Metal Availability to Perennial Grasses and Row-Crops Grown on Contaminated Soils and Mine Spoils
    R825549C030 Alachlor and Atrazine Losses from Runoff and Erosion in the Blue River Basin
    R825549C031 Biodetoxification of Mixed Solid and Hazardous Wastes by Staged Anaerobic Fermentation Conducted at Separate Redox and pH Environments
    R825549C032 Time Dependent Movement of Dioxin and Related Compounds in Soil
    R825549C033 Impact of Soil Microflora on Revegetation Efforts in Southeast Kansas
    R825549C034 Modeling the use of Plants in Remediation of Soil and Groundwater Contaminated by Hazardous Organic Substances
    R825549C035 Development of Electrochemical Processes for Improved Treatment of Lead Wastes
    R825549C036 Innovative Treatment and Bank Stabilization of Metals-Contaminated Soils and Tailings along Whitewood Creek, South Dakota
    R825549C037 Formation and Transformation of Pesticide Degradation Products Under Various Electron Acceptor Conditions
    R825549C038 The Effect of Redox Conditions on Transformations of Carbon Tetrachloride
    R825549C039 Remediation of Soil Contaminated with an Organic Phase
    R825549C040 Intelligent Process Design and Control for the Minimization of Waste Production and Treatment of Hazardous Waste
    R825549C041 Heavy Metals Removal from Contaminated Water Solutions
    R825549C042 Metals Soil Pollution and Vegetative Remediation
    R825549C043 Fate and Transport of Munitions Residues in Contaminated Soil
    R825549C044 The Role of Metallic Iron in the Biotransformation of Chlorinated Xenobiotics
    R825549C045 Use of Vegetation to Enhance Bioremediation of Surface Soils Contaminated with Pesticide Wastes
    R825549C046 Fate and Transport of Heavy Metals and Radionuclides in Soil: The Impacts of Vegetation
    R825549C047 Vegetative Interceptor Zones for Containment of Heavy Metal Pollutants
    R825549C048 Acid-Producing Metalliferous Waste Reclamation by Material Reprocessing and Vegetative Stabilization
    R825549C049 Laboratory and Field Evaluation of Upward Mobilization and Photodegradation of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Furans in Soil
    R825549C050 Evaluation of Biosparging Performance and Process Fundamentals for Site Remediation
    R825549C051 Field Scale Bioremediation: Relationship of Parent Compound Disappearance to Humification, Mineralization, Leaching, Volatilization of Transformaiton Intermediates
    R825549C052 Chelating Extraction of Heavy Metals from Contaminated Soils
    R825549C053 Application of Anaerobic and Multiple-Electron-Acceptor Bioremediation to Chlorinated Aliphatic Subsurface Contamination
    R825549C054 Application of PGNAA Remote Sensing Methods to Real-Time, Non-Intrusive Determination of Contaminant Profiles in Soils
    R825549C055 Design and Development of an Innovative Industrial Scale Process to Economically Treat Waste Zinc Residues
    R825549C056 Remediation of Soils Contaminated with Wood-Treatment Chemicals (PCP and Creosote)
    R825549C057 Effects of Surfactants on the Bioavailability and Biodegradation of Contaminants in Soils
    R825549C058 Contaminant Binding to the Humin Fraction of Soil Organic Matter
    R825549C059 Identifying Ground-Water Threats from Improperly Abandoned Boreholes
    R825549C060 Uptake of BTEX Compounds by Hybrid Poplar Trees in Hazardous Waste Remediation
    R825549C061 Biofilm Barriers for Waste Containment
    R825549C062 Plant Assisted Remediation of Soil and Groundwater Contaminated by Hazardous Organic Substances: Experimental and Modeling Studies
    R825549C063 Extension of Laboratory Validated Treatment and Remediation Technologies to Field Problems in Aquifer Soil and Water Contamination by Organic Waste Chemicals