Detoxification of Acid Mine Drainage Using High Performance Chelation Technology

EPA Contract Number: 68D10038
Title: Detoxification of Acid Mine Drainage Using High Performance Chelation Technology
Investigators: Hammen, Richard F.
Small Business: ChromatoChem Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1991 through March 1, 1992
Project Amount: $50,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1991) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Waste , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The abandoned Berkeley Pit Copper mine site in Butte, Montana, is a major component of the Butte Silverbow Creek Superfund site. It consists of several billion gallons of acid (pH 2-3) mine drainage that is contaminated with toxic levels of a variety of heavy metals, arsenic, and sulfuric acid. The flow of contaminated water into the pit is about 7 million gallons per day. ChromatoChem, Inc., and its collaborators at the University of Montana, have devel- oped a High Performance Chelation Chromatography (HPCC) system that effectively removes the heavy metals and arsenic while increasing the pH of the drainage by 2-3 logs. The system produces water that has less than 1 part/ million of toxic metals and affords at least a 20-fold concentration of the metals, making recovery and sale of metals possible. In addition, the differing binding constants of the various metal species for the affinity support allow for differential elution of the metals from the affinity support, increasing their value. This proposal will demon- strate that the process can be "scaled up " by using a HPCC column that can process 4 gallons of acid mine water/ minute. Studies will be performed to determine the capacity and durability of the column and to maximize the differen- tial elution of various metal species from the column. The HPCC system offers a method to economically "detoxify" vast quantities of acid mine drainage while recovering valuable metals to help defray the expense of operation.

Supplemental Keywords:

Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Geographic Area, Waste, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, National Recommended Water Quality, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Remediation, Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Arsenic, Chemistry, Contaminant Candidate List, State, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Hazardous, West Coast, 33/50, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, detoxification, Superfund sites, chelation, acid mine drainage, recovery, contaminated waters, high performance chelation chromatography (HPCC) system, Superfund, hazardous waste, toxic metals, metal recovery , metal recovery, Butte, MT, innovative technology, innovative technologies, Montana , heavy metals

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final