Toxic Metals Removal in Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Wetlands

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Indiana Geological Survey


The removal of trace metals from acid mine drainage was studied in four constructed wetlands on abandoned mine lands in southwestern Indiana. The wetlands vary in the constraints of their settings, their design, the materials used in their construction, and their effectiveness at removing metals. Aqueous and sediment samples were collected twice a year at each of sixteen sampling locations. Water, pore water, and sediment extracts were analyzed for their physicochemical characteristics, major ions, and the trace metals arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, and vanadium. A simplified sequential extraction was used to distinguish between bio-available and residual metals. The relative distributions of metals between the bio-available and residual fractions were compared with one another in order to determine the factors which control precipitation, sorption, and mineralization of trace metals, and assess their potential mobility. Data representing late winter and late summer conditions were compared to identify seasonal differences in metals concentrations in the various wetland cells. The overall percentage of major metals removed from the AMD was determined. The Aquachem computer program was used to generate a diagram of the prevalent chemical character of the wetlands waters and to introduce data to a water chemistry modeling program, PhreeqC. The PhreeqC program determined saturation indices for mineral phases in water entering and leaving the wetlands. The water and sediment metals values were compared with published criteria for water and sediment quality.



acid mine drainage, AMD, AMD treatment, abandoned mine lands, AML, treatment wetlands, mine water, mine remediation, toxic metals, heavy metals, water pollution, metals precipitation, mine water remediation, metals removal, AMD neutralization, Indiana Division of Reclamation, SMART Grant, sequential extraction of metals, contaminated sediment, Midwestern Reclamation Site, Reclamation Site No. 1987, Augusta Lake, Friar Tuck reclamation site, Tecumseh reclamation site, AMD chemistry, iron removal, manganese removal, Indiana, Indiana Geological Survey


Smith, R. T., Comer, J. B., Ennis, M. V., Branam, T. D., Butler, S. M., and Renton, P. M., 2001, Toxic Metals Removal in Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Wetlands: Indiana Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-03, 52 p.


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