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Treatment of Percolate from Metal Sulfide Mine Tailings with a Permeable Reactive Barrier of Transformed Red Mud

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Metal sulfide tailings of the Sardinian (Italy) abandoned Baccu Locci arsenic mine show high concentrations of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, copper, manganese, lead, and zinc in acid percolate (pH  =  4) and have been classified as “dangerous waste.” This paper shows that the release of toxic metals can be strongly reduced when the tailings are placed on a reactive permeable bed (7 wt %) of porous, alkaline pellets of transformed red mud (TRM). During a laboratory percolation test, two columns with 80 kg of waste, of which one contained a bottom layer of TRM pellets, were each alimented with 600 L of de-ionized water. Comparing pH, electroconductivity, metal, and sulfate concentrations of collected percolate from both columns demonstrates efficient neutralization (pH  =  7.4) and removal of metals (80 to 99%) for the column with the permeable reactive bottom layer.

Keywords: acid rock drainage; column leaching; permeable reactive barrier; transformed red mud pellet

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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