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Acid mine drainage - Essay Example

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This paper sets out to examine the causes of acid mine drainage of a site under investigation-a long-abandoned coal mine. The analyses of the samples collected were done to ascertain the alleged source of the river contamination…
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Acid mine drainage
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Download file to see previous pages Authorities reported about the river passing by the spoil becoming orange. A comparison between the analysed levels of the pH of the site to determine the source of contamination based on the Acid generating Potential and the Acid Neutralizing Capacity (ANC) which is calculated directly by adding acid to a slurry of the spoil until the pH falls below some specified value (often pH 4.5) is expressed directly as meq (of acid added) per kg (of sample used). This analysis will help to pin point the source of acid mine, whether it is coming from the spoil heap or mine adit. This information can be used to devise remediation measures in order to reduce the damage on the environment-river pollution. Knowledge of acid mine drainage is not only significant to authorities tasked with environmental protection but also to consultancy agencies in acid mine drainage. Lastly, mining companies need to reduce the damage to the environment by employing technologies for proper treatment of their discharges. Wetlands engineering can reduce the damages of acid mine aquatic plants and animals. It is theorized that building wetlands can mitigate AMD pollution and have lower or no future operations and maintenance costs.Acid mine drainage can be defined as both ground and surface waters of pH is ≤ 4.5. The Acid mine drainage is mainly caused by the oxidation reaction of surface waters with pyrite containing rocks or ores. Sulphate is found almost everywhere on this earth even in natural fresh waters (Drever, 1997). It is usually the second or third most abundant anion in rainwater, where it is derived both from natural aquatic sources and from atmospheric pollution - the sulphur component of “acid rain” as a result of fossil fuel combustion. 1.01 Apart from human activities, pyrite oxidation also produces acidity, enhancing other weathering reactions. Such as, production of waters with very low pH and high sulphate concentration as a result of buffering the PH. Sulphate available comes from many anthropogenic sources: they can be coming from farms and agricultural sources. Sulphate fertilizes could be chief source of such contaminants. Sometimes they can come from other cleaning agents agents; and industrial point emissions of sulphuric acid utilised in manufacturing. Main causes of AMD phenomena: 2.0 Understanding the geochemical reactions that generates AMD provides an insight into the three most important reagents that must present – Fe 3+, oxygen (O2) and water. Moreover, “runaway” AMD production needs Fe3+ dissolved in solution and the activity of different species of bacteria “ Thiobacillus ferrooxidans” to catalyse the reactions ten thousands times. 2.01 In more details, pyrite is oxidised by the oxygen molecules dissolved in water ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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