Removal of arsenic and metals from groundwater impacted by mine waste using zero-valent iron and organic carbon: Laboratory column experiments

Joanne U. Angai, Carol J. Ptacek, Eva Pakostova, Jeff G. Bain, Brent R. Verbuyst, David W. Blowes

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    17 Citations (Scopus)
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    Acid mine drainage and the associated contaminants, including As and metals, are ongoing environmental issues. Passive remediation technologies have the potential to remove As from mine waste effluents. A series of laboratory column experiments was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of varying mixtures of organic carbon (OC), zero-valent iron (ZVI), and limestone for the treatment of As, metals, SO42− , and acidity in groundwater from an abandoned gold mine. The onset of bacterially-mediated SO42− reduction was indicated by a decrease in Eh, a decline in aqueous SO42− concentrations coupled with enrichment of δ34S, and the presence of sulfatereducing bacteria and H2S. Removal of As was observed within the first 3 cm of reactive material, to values below 10 µg L− 1, representing > 99.9% removal. An increase in pH from 3.5 to circumneutral values and removal of metals including Al, Cu, and Zn was also observed. Synchrotron results suggest As was removed through precipitation of As-crystalline phases such as realgar and orpiment, or through adsorption as As(V) on ferrihydrite. The results indicate the potential for a mixture of OC and ZVI to remove As from acidic, mine-impacted water.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number127295
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Issue numberPart A
    Early online date20 Sept 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022

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    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada , TERRE-NET (Grant Number: NETGP 479708-15 ) and the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM). Synchrotron-based techniques were performed at Sector 20-ID of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 . Additional synchrotron-based techniques were performed using beamline SXRMB at the Canadian Light Source, a national research facility of the University of Saskatchewan , which is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the National Research Council (NRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Government of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan .


    • Acid Mine Drainage
    • Mining
    • Permeable Reactive Barriers
    • Water Treatment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Pollution
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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