The wastes generated from both operational and abandoned coal and metal mining are an environmental concern. These wastes, including acid mine drainage (AMD), are treated to abate the devastating effects they have on the environment before disposal. However, AMD contains valuable resources that can be recovered to subsidize treatment costs. Two of the major constituents of coal AMD are iron and aluminium, which can be recovered and engineered to function as coagulants. This work examines the potential of producing a poly-alumino-ferric sulphate (AMD-PAFS) coagulant from coal acidic drainage solutions. The co-precipitation of iron and aluminium is conducted at pH values of 5.0, 6.0 and 7.0 using sodium hydroxide in order to evaluate the recovery of iron and aluminium as hydroxide precipitates while minimizing the co-precipitation of the other heavy metals. The precipitation at pH 5.0 yields iron and aluminium recovery of 99.9 and 94.7%, respectively. An increase in the pH from 5.0 to 7.0 increases the recovery of aluminium to 99.1%, while the recovery of iron remains the same. The precipitate formed at pH 5.0 is used to produce a coagulant consisting of 89.5% and 10.0% iron and aluminium, respectively. The production of the coagulant is carried out by dissolving the precipitate in 5.0% (w/w) sulphuric acid. Subsequently, the treatment of the brewery wastewater shows that the AMD-PAFS coagulant is as efficient as the conventional poly ferric sulphate (PFS) coagulant. The turbidity removal is 91.9 and 87.8%, while the chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal is 56.0 and 64.0% for AMD-PAFS and PFS coagulants, respectively. The developed process, which can easily be incorporated into existing AMD treatment plants, not only reduces the sludge disposal problems but also creates revenue from waste.
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