Improvement of pH and Reduction of Heavy Metal Concentrations in Acid Mine

Akhmad R. Saidy, Bambang J. Priatmadi, Meldia Septiana, Ronny Mulyawan


The oxidation of sulfide mineral compounds mixed with water during mining activities produces acid mine drainage (AMD). Due to the low pH and high concentrations of metals, remediation is needed before AMD is allowed to flow into free water systems. Therefore, this study aims to quantify the effect of coal fly ash (CFA) and organic matters (OMs) application on the changes in pH and heavy metal concentrations of AMD. Three different organic matters, namely chicken manure, water hyacinth, and empty fruit bunch of oil palm (EFBOP), were added to reclaimed mining soils (RMSs) either single or in combination with coal fly-ash (CFA) in a batch reactor experiment.  After incubation at 70% water holding capacity for 15 days, the mixtures of RMSs and treatments in the reactors were gradually introduced to AMD, and changes in pH were monitored over 336 hours. Furthermore, the removal of Fe, Al, and Mn in the treated AMD was also quantified. The results showed that the separate application of OMs and CFA increased pH from 3.18 to 5.04-5.43 and 6.94, respectively, while simultaneous application increased the pH from 3.18 to 7.62−7.70. Similarly, the removal of metals (Fe, Mn, and Al) was also significantly higher when OMs and CFA were added concurrently than separate addition. This study demonstrates that the application of OMs with CFA improves pH and reduces heavy metal concentrations in AMD.


Keywords: constructed wetland, passive treatment, adsorption, functional groups.

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