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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Dispersed Alkaline Substrate and Diffusive Exchange System Technologies for the Passive Treatment of Copper Mining Acid Drainage

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Concepción, Edmundo Larenas 219, Concepción 4070386, Chile
2
Facultad de Ingeniería y Tecnología, Universidad San Sebastián, Lientur 1457, Concepción 4080871, Chile
3
Golder Associates (UK) Ltd, Bourne End SL8, UK
4
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia 4067, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(3), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030854 (registering DOI)
Received: 13 February 2020 / Revised: 7 March 2020 / Accepted: 13 March 2020 / Published: 18 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Water and Wastewater Treatment)
The study evaluates the performance of the novel ADES (alkaline diffusive exchange System), SDES (sulfidogenic diffusive exchange system) and DAS (Dispersed Alkaline Substrate) technologies for the passive treatment of high-strength acid mine drainage (AMD) from copper mining (pH~3, 633 mg Cu L−1). The chemical DAS and ADES prototypes showed the best performance in the removal of Cu, Al, and Zn (98–100%), while the biochemical SDES reactors achieved a high sulfate removal rate (average of 0.28 mol m−3 day-1). Notably, the DES technology was effective in protecting the sulfate-reducing communities from the high toxicity of the AMD, and also in maintaining bed permeability, an aspect that was key in the ADES reactor. The DAS reactor showed the highest reactivity, accumulating the metallic precipitates in a lower reactor volume, allowing to conclude that it requires the lowest hydraulic residence time among all the reactors. However, the concentration of precipitates resulted in the formation of a hardpan, which may trigger the need of removing it to avoid compromising the continuity of the treatment process. This study suggests the development of new treatment alternatives by combining the strengths of each technology in combined or serial treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: acid mine drainage; copper; passive treatment; sulfate reduction; diffusive exchange; dispersed alkaline substrate acid mine drainage; copper; passive treatment; sulfate reduction; diffusive exchange; dispersed alkaline substrate
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Schwarz, A.; Nancucheo, I.; Gaete, M.A.; Muñoz, D.; Sanhueza, P.; Torregrosa, M.; Rötting, T.; Southam, G.; Aybar, M. Evaluation of Dispersed Alkaline Substrate and Diffusive Exchange System Technologies for the Passive Treatment of Copper Mining Acid Drainage. Water 2020, 12, 854.

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