Metal Removal Capabilities of Passive Bioreactor Systems: Effects of Organic Matter and Microbial Population Dynamics

EPA Grant Number: R829515C003
Subproject: this is subproject number 003 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829515
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites
Center Director: Shackelford, Charles D.
Title: Metal Removal Capabilities of Passive Bioreactor Systems: Effects of Organic Matter and Microbial Population Dynamics
Investigators: Figueroa, Linda , Ahmann, Dianne , Blowes, David , Carlson, Kenneth H. , DuTeau, Nancy M. , Reardon, Kenneth F. , Shackleford, Charles , Wildeman, Thomas , Woods, Sandra L.
Institution: Colorado School of Mines
Current Institution: Colorado School of Mines , Colorado State University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: November 1, 2001 through October 31, 2003
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management

Objective:

The ability of passive bioreactor systems (anaerobic wetlands, passive bioreactors and permeable reactive barriers) to reduce metals from mine drainage has been demonstrated. However, problems arise with the performance of some passive bioreactor systems. Some of these problems are cold temperature and stress effects, stable long-term performance, variable effluent metal concentrations and nitrate effects on performance. Improvements in performance can be achieved by a better understanding of how the organic substrate affects the microbial population distribution and microbial activity, and the nature of the microbial products (e.g., organic matter), as well as how the produced OM itself affects metal fate (beneficially or deleteriously).

The overall goal of this project is to evaluate the effect of organic matter characteristic and types on organic products produced by the microbial populations, on microbial population distributions and metal speciation and complexation. To achieve this goal, a research plan with the following objectives will be followed: 1. To evaluate the physical, chemical and biological composition of the components used to create the PBR mixtures, 2. To determine if the organic substrate characteristics affect the character and concentration of soluble organic matter and metal speciation and concentration, 3. To determine the variation of microbial population with time and location, 4. To evaluate the use of mathematical models to relate metal removal and transport to various system parameters.

Approach:

The approach will utilize experimental study in batch and column systems to test the proposed hypotheses and meet the project objectives. The project tasks are: 1. Solid phase organic and inorganic material characterization (physical, chemical and microbial); 2. Batch studies on the effect of different PBR mixtures; 3. Column studies on the effect of substrate mixtures and perturbations; 4. Field sampling of anaerobic wetland and passive bioreactor systems; and 5. Fate and transport modeling.

Expected Results:

This project will result in improved designs of passive bioreactor systems to achieve target metal concentrations to protect aquatic and human health.

Supplemental Keywords:

passive bioreactor, metal, sulfate-reducing bacteria, microbiology, remediation, mining., RFA, Industry Sectors, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Contaminated Sediments, Remediation, Mining - NAIC 21, Hazardous Waste, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Geology, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, risk assessment, contaminant transport, contaminated waste sites, suspended sediment, acid mine drainage, runoff, sediment transport, stream ecosystems, remediation technologies, natural organic matter, field monitoring, mining, treatment, aquatic ecosystems, groundwater, heavy metals, mining impacted watershed, mining wastes, metal removal, acid mine runoff, redox

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829515    HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829515C001 Redox Transformations, Complexation and Soil/Sediment Interactions of Inorganic Forms of As and Se in Aquatic Environments: Effects of Natural Organic Matter
    R829515C002 Fate and Transport of Metals and Sediment in Surface Water
    R829515C003 Metal Removal Capabilities of Passive Bioreactor Systems: Effects of Organic Matter and Microbial Population Dynamics
    R829515C004 Evaluating Recovery of Stream Ecosystems from Mining Pollution: Integrating Biochemical, Population, Community and Ecosystem Indicators
    R829515C005 Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center Training and Technology Transfer Program
    R829515C006 Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields
    R829515C007 Evaluation of Hydrologic Models for Alternative Covers at Mine Waste Sites
    R829515C008 Microbial Reduction of Uranium in Mine Leachate by Fermentative and Iron-Reducing Bacteria
    R829515C009 Development and Characterization of Microbial Inocula for High-Performance Passive Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C010 Reactive Transport Modeling of Metal Removal From Anaerobic Biozones
    R829515C011 Assessment of Electrokinetic Injection of Amendments for Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C012 Metal Toxicity Thresholds for Important Reclamation Plant Species of the Rocky Mountains
    R829515C013 An Improved Method for Establishing Water Quality Criteria for Mining Impacted Streams