Destabilization dynamics of clay and acid-free polymers of ferric and magnesium salts in AMD without pH adjustment
The physicochemical treatment was employed to treat acid mine drainage (AMD) in the removal of turbid materials using clay only (exp A) and a combination of clay, FeCl3 and Mg(OH)2 (exp B) to form a polymer. A 5 g sample of clay (bentonite) was added to 1.2 L of AMD and treated in a jar test at 250 rpm for 2 min and reduced to 100 rpm for 10 min. A 200 mL sub-sample from the 1.2 L mother liquor was poured into five 500 mL glass beakers, and 20 mL dosages of a polymer of 0.1 M Fe3+ in (FeCl3) and 0.1 M Mg2+ in (Mg(OH)2) was added to the beakers. The samples were allowed to settle for 1 h, after which the supernatant was analyzed for pH, total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved oxygen (DO) and oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) (exp A). A similar set of experiments was conducted where 200 mL of the AMD sample was poured into 500 mL glass beakers and (20–60 mL) dosages of a combination of 5 g clay, 0.1 M Fe3+ (FeCl3) and Mg2+ (Mg(OH)2) polymer was added and similar mixing, settling time and measurements were conducted (exp B). The polymers used in exp A exhibited TSS removal efficiency (E%) which was slightly lower compared with the polymer used in exp B, above 90%. Clay has a high TSS removal efficiency in the treatment of the AMD, indicating that adsorption was a predominant process in exps A and B. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs of the AMD sludge of both exps A and B, with a rigid and compacted structure consisting of dense flocs surrounded by the smaller flocs bound together, corroborate the fact that adsorption is a predominant process.