IWA Publishing

Two-stage combined treatment of acid mine drainage and municipal wastewater

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This study examined the feasibility of the combined treatment of field-collected acid mine drainages (AMD, pH = 4.2 ± 0.9, iron = 112 ± 118 mg/L, sulfate = 1,846 ± 594 mg/L) and municipal wastewater (MWW, avg. chemical oxygen demand (COD) = 234–333 mg/L) using a two-stage process. The process consisted of batch mixing of the two wastes to condition the mixture solutions, followed by anaerobic biological treatment. The mixings performed under a range of AMD/MWW ratios resulted in phosphate removal of 9 to ∼100%, the mixture pH of 6.2–7.9, and COD/sulfate concentration ratio of 0.05–5.4. The biological treatment consistently removed COD and sulfate by >80% from the mixture solutions for COD/sulfate ratios of 0.6–5.4. Alkalinity was produced in the biological treatment causing increased pH and further removal of metals from the solutions. Scanning electron microscopy of produced sludge with energy dispersion analysis suggested chemical precipitation and associated adsorption and co-precipitation as the mechanisms for metal removal (Fe: >99%, Al: ∼100%, Mn: 75 to ∼100%, Ca: 52–81%, Mg: 13–76%, and Na: 56–76%). The study showed promising results for the treatment method and denoted the potential of developing innovative technologies for combined management of the two wastes in mining regions.

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