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Remediation of Aquatic Post-Industrial Inorganic Pollutants

Jarvis, A; Mayes, Will

Authors

A Jarvis

Abstract

Pollution from abandoned mines can be a major and persistent source of degradation to the health of the water environment. This article reviews the nature of these impacts. The most important of these are usually the chemical changes that occur with the flooding of abandoned mine workings that can result in the weathering of hitherto stable minerals, with resultant release of metals and generation of acidity in recipient waters. Strategies for remediation planning are considered, highlighting the benefits of catchment-scale management approaches that integrate multiple indices of impact to determine both the physicochemical effects and socioeconomic impacts of individual mine sites. Remedial options at priority polluting mine sites generally fall within one of two categories: active or passive. Active treatment uses conventional wastewater treatment technologies that require continued power and running costs (largely in the form of chemical reagents). Passive treatment has become increasingly popular in recent years as it utilizes only naturally available energy sources to undertake remediation, for example using wetlands or bioreactors. The most suitable applications for the varied treatment technologies available are discussed. Future research priorities are considered and include (1) optimization of existing compost-based mine water remediation schemes through an improved understanding of microbially mediated treatment processes, (2) development of enhanced low-cost treatment technologies for contaminants such as zinc, lead, cadmium, and nickel, and (3) development of an improved understanding of the nature and extent of nonpoint sources of metal pollution to surface waters in heavily mined catchments. The latter will provide a firmer basis for effective management of mining-derived inorganic pollutants from a variety of point and nonpoint sources in the water environment at a catchment scale.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2011
Pages 789 - 800
Book Title Encyclopedia of Environmental Health
ISBN 978-0-444-52273-3
Institution Citation Jarvis, A., & Mayes, W. (2011). Remediation of Aquatic Post-Industrial Inorganic Pollutants. Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, 789 - 800. Elsevier
Publisher URL 10.1016/B978-0-444-52272-6.00047-7