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Field Demonstration of an In Situ Passive Biological Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Process

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  • An innovative, biological treatment process has been designed by MSE Technology Applications, Inc to treat and control acid mine drainage (AMD). A field-scale demonstration is being conducted under the Mine Waste Technology Program using water flowing from a historic mine in Montana. A successful demonstration of an in situ process will allow it to be employed at numerous other abandoned or remote mines, which discharge AMD, an acidic, metal-contaminated water. Conventional treatment methods are costly and are often impossible to use at remote locations. MSE’s technology uses a biological system to clean up AMD. The In situ Passive Biological Treatment Process utilises nonpathogenic bacteria, which are able to neutralise acidic mine water and remove contained toxic metals. These bacteria live within a series of pile-type reactors inside the mine. The bacteria are fed inexpensive waste products. The resulting discharge is clean water flowing from the mine. This presentation will show that this technology offers a natural cleanup method for the nation’s numerous abandoned mines. Work on this project was conducted under Interagency Agreement No DW899388-70-01-1 between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy (DOE), and was performed at the Western Environmental Technology Office through the DOE National Environmental Technology Laboratory (DOE Contract No. DE-AC22-96EW96405).

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