[ Main ] Educator's Guide
Outreach Initiatives
[ Site Map ]
Geology | Lehigh River Watershed Explorations | Weather | Environmental Issues | Data Collection Activities

Active treatment of Acid Mine Drainage: techniques and costs

The least costly and most effective method of controlling Acid Mine Drainage is to prevent its initial formation. On occasion, despite the application of sound mining and reclamation principles, Acid Mine Drainage will be formed and must be treated to meet existing Federal and State standards before it is released from the minesite. Prior to opening the mine the operator should evaluate the potential for creating Acid Mine Drainage that would require treatment and should become familiar with the extent of the costs that such treatment might impose. Consideration should also be given to the possibility that treatment might have to be continued well into the future, specifically until such time that the discharge meets effluent standards without treatment.

Treatment, as normally applied to Acid Mine Drainage, involves chemical neutralization of the acidity followed by precipitation of iron and other suspended solids. Treatment systems include

1. equipment for feeding the neutralizing agent to the Acid Mine Drainage
2. means for mixing the two streams (Acid Mine Drainage and neutralizing agent)
3. procedures for ensuring iron oxidation
4. settling ponds for removing iron, manganese, and other co-precipitates

A number of factors dictate the level of sophistication of the treatment system that is necessary to ensure that effluent standards will be met. These factors include: the chemical characteristics of the Acid Mine Drainage, the quantity to be treated, climate, terrain, sludge characteristics, and projected life of the plant. The chemicals usually used for Acid Mine Drainage treatment include limestone, hydrated lime, soda ash, caustic soda, and ammonia. The following discussion highlights some of the characteristics of each of these neutralizing agents.

Return to AMD Stakeholders' page


Curricular Activities | Lehigh River Photojournal | Water Quality | GIS | History | River Exploration
LEO EnviroSci Inquiry is brought to you by the Lehigh Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University.
Copyright ©2000-2011 Lehigh Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University. All rights reserved.