Passive treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) requires a combined strategy to minimize the effect of climatic variability on the treatment performance of the system. A vertical-flow combined passive treatment system was developed and evaluated in a bench-scale laboratory test for a 290-day period. The combined system consisted of four components with specific treatment functions: an oxidation/precipitation basin for excess iron removal; a peat biofilter for heavy metal sorption and the establishment of anoxic conditions; a bioreactor for alkalinity generation and sulphate reduction; and an anoxic limestone drain for alkalinity addition. The benchscale system was dosed with moderate strength synthetic AMD at a surface loading of 95 L/m2/d, and operated under continuous flow conditions. Removal efficiencies were 99.7%, 99.9%, 99.9%, 98.6%, 98.2%, and 99.9% for Fe, Al, Zn, Mn, Ni, and Cu, respectively, while Cd remained more mobile with a removal efficiency of 66.5%. Sulphate concentrations were reduced from 3030 mg/L to 814.9 mg/L and the acidic drainage was neutralized to an effluent pH of 7.2 and an alkalinity of 1353.6 mg/L (as CaCO3).

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Keywords Acid mine drainage, Bioremediation, Passive treatment, Peat biofilter, Sulphate reducing bacteria
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Journal Mine Water and the Environment
Champagne, P., van Geel, P, & Parker, W. (2005). A bench-scale assessment of a combined passive system to reduce concentrations of metals and sulphate in acid mine drainage. In Mine Water and the Environment (Vol. 24, pp. 124–133). doi:10.1007/s10230-005-0083-1