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CONSTRUCTION OF MODULAR FIELD-BIOREACTOR FOR ACID MINE DRAINAGE TREATMENT
ZALUSKI, M. H., D. R. BLESS, AND L. FIGUEROA. CONSTRUCTION OF MODULAR FIELD-BIOREACTOR FOR ACID MINE DRAINAGE TREATMENT. Presented at International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage, St. Louis, MO, March 27 - 29, 2006.
To inform the public.
The paper focuses on the improvements to engineered features of a passive technology that has been used for remediation of acid rock drainage (ARD). This passive remedial technology, a sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) bioreactor, takes advantage of the ability of SRB that, if supplied with a source of organic carbon, can increase pH and alkalinity of the water and immobilize metals by precipitating them as metal sulfides or hydroxides. The remoteness of ARD sites and their abundance require that the design of an SRB bioreactor is simple and inexpensive. Therefore, bioreactors need to be designed to a size that allows for transportation using backcountry roads. To satisfy these requirements a design for a modular treatment system was developed using reactive cartridges (RC) that are prefabricated as 8-foot diameter vessels. The RC has been designed so it supports the prime functional aspects of a bioreactor such as high permeability, ample supply of organic carbon, ability to maintain anaerobic conditions, and capacity to accumulate precipitated metals and means for their periodical removal, as needed. In addition, the configuration of the RC allows for an easy replacement of the organic carbon. The RCs can be transported to an ARD site and assembled into a treatment system with a number of modules as required by the ARD flow rate and the metals load. A bioreactor system consisting of four RCs has been installed and its performance is being monitored at the McClelland tunnel adit located east of Dumont, Colorado. This tunnel drainage is within the Central City/Clear Creek superfund site. The RC design was developed by the Mine Waste Technology Program (MWTP) at MSE Technology Applications (MSE), Butte, Montana, USA. The work was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was jointly administered by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory and performed at the Western Environmental Technology Office under DOE contract number DE-AC09-96EW96405.