Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Tool Kit: Obtaining Information on Water Quality Treatment Alternatives
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Treatment of acid mine drainage and metal loading into watersheds is site specific as each mining site has unique flow rates, contaminants and site location. There are, however, common types of water quality treatment systems:
Methods that prevent the drainage from a mining adit to occur or improve the quality of the discharge.
Methods which use ongoing inputs of artificial energy and/or chemicals to improve water quality.
Active treatment methods that are applied off-site. For example, a treatment center could be constructed that pumps contaminated water from a variety of mines to one central treatment plant.
Methods that involve natural physical, biochemical and geochemical actions and reactions. For example, an adjacent wetland could help restore water quality.
There is a significant amount of technical information on the Internet such as technical reports and case studies of treatment alternatives. Conducting Internet research is a good way to understand the technical issues. These are complicated issues and in many cases, an environmental consultant may need to be brought in to analyze the options. Learn more about working with environmental experts in the Involving Subject Matter Experts section.