A continuous pilot-scale system using coal-mine drainage sludge to treat acid mine drainage contaminated with high concentrations of Pb, Zn, and other heavy metals

Mingcan Cui, Min Jang, Sang Hyun Cho, Jeehyeong Khim, Fred S. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


A series of pilot-scale tests were conducted with a continuous system composed of a stirring tank reactor, settling tank, and sand filter. In order to treat acidic drainage from a Pb-Zn mine containing high levels of heavy metals, the potential use of coal-mine drainage sludge (CMDS) was examined. The pilot-scale tests showed that CMDS could effectively neutralize the acidic drainage due to its high alkalinity production. A previous study revealed that calcite and goethite contained in CMDS contributed to dissolutive coprecipitation and complexation with heavy metals. The continuous system not only has high removal efficiencies (97.2-99.8%), but also large total rate constants (K total, 0.21-10.18h -1) for all heavy metals. More specifically, the pilot system has a much higher Zn(II) loading rate (45.3gm -3day -1) than other reference systems, such as aerobic wetland coupled with algal mats and anoxic limestone drains. The optimum conditions were found to be a CMDS loading of 280gL -1 and a flow rate of 8Lday -1, and the necessary quantity of CMDS was 91.3gL -1day -1, as the replacement cycle of CMDS was determined to be 70 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - May 15 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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